HGV driver jailed after crash at Douglas

A veteran lorry driver was jailed for ten months at Lanark Sheriff Court after admitting causing a major accident in Douglas after drinking a pint of rum.

Lanark Sheriff Court
Lanark Sheriff Court

Appearing on Thursday for sentence, 54-year-old Irvine Pettigrew had earlier admitted that, on December 6, 2014 on the B7078 at its junction with the A70, he drove his articulated lorry while more than three times over the drink-driving limit.

He further admitted to driving dangerously and at excessive speed, straying into the opposite carriageway, failing to give way at a T-junction, and colliding with crash barriers and then a car, injuring both himself and the car’s driver.

At the start of the sentencing hearing, Sheriff Nikola Stewart gave early warning that she intended jailing Pettigrew because of the “catastrophic” results of his drink-driving, and reports having revealed he’d driven his lorry that day after drinking a half litre bottle of Bacardi.

However, a solicitor for Pettigrew pleaded that he be given a non-custodial sentence while recognising that “this was a horrendous accident that could have been much worse. However, it is very clear that he will never work as a driver again which means that there is a low risk of this offence ever being repeated.”

When the solicitor admitted his client had “possible alcohol problems”, this quickly brought the response from Sheriff Stewart: “He drank half a litre of Bacardi before getting behind the wheel of an articulated lorry and then driving on our public roads and through our streets. He is obviously an alcoholic. It is screamingly clear that he is an alcoholic. His blood alcohol level when tested that day was appallingly high.”

Noting that the case had now taken over a year to come to guilty plea and sentencing, the sheriff asked: “Why wasn’t there a plea earlier? What possible defence could there have been here?”

The solicitor replied that Pettigrew, 4 Greenside Avenue, Irvine, had needed time “to come to terms” with what he had done.

Passing concurrent sentences of five months imprisonment for the drink driving and 10 months for the dangerous driving, Sheriff Stewart commented: ”Conduct like this must end in custody.”