Drink driver caused deaths of two teenage friends in crash

Logan Russell was aged 17 when his Vauxhall Corsa collided with a tree after leaving a party in Windygates, Fife.

Drink driver caused deaths of two teenage friends in crash STV News

A drink driver caused the deaths of two teenage friends in a crash after he lost control of his car when he drove off from a party.

Logan Russell was aged 17 when his Vauxhall Corsa left the road and collided with a tree, leaving three passengers in the vehicle unconscious.

Russell managed to get out of the car and told witnesses: “Help my friends. Can you get them out the car? It’s all my fault.”

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that paramedics pronounced one of the passengers, 17-year-old Ethan King, dead at the scene, while another Connor Aird, 17, died later in hospital.

The third passenger, Daniel Stevens, sustained serious injuries.

A judge told Russell, now aged 20, that a custodial sentence was “very much at the forefront of my mind”.

Russell had faced a charge of causing the deaths by dangerous driving on the A915 Standing Stane road at Windygates, in Fife, on November 11 in 2018.

But he pleaded guilty on Thursday to an amended charge of causing the deaths by careless driving while over the drink drive limit.

The court heard that Russell, of Valley Gardens, Leslie, in Fife, had held a full driving licence for just 55 days when the fatal collision occurred.

Advocate depute Leanne McQuillan said on the evening of November 10 into the early hours of the next day a girl had held a party at her home in Windygates.

The event mostly took place at a summer house type building in the back garden while her parents were in the house.

The prosecutor said: “Various people were at the party including the accused, Connor Aird, Ethan King and Daniel Stevens.

The accused was seen by various guests to be drinking alcohol throughout the course of the evening as were the other guests.

“She said about 8.15am the girl’s father got up and noticed there were four youths still in the garden and went out and told them it was time to leave.

Ms McQuillan said: “Daniel Stevens was asleep and did not wake up so the others carried him out of the garden.”

Russell drove off with the three passengers heading in the direction of Kirkcaldy.

The advocate depute said the road surface on the A915 was wet, but visibility was good and traffic was light.

The collision occurred about 8.35am with two other vehicles travelling behind Russell’s Corsa.   

She said: “The witnesses described the car drifting gradually to the right, crossing the centre line into the opposing carriageway. No one saw the brake lights illuminate.”

“The vehicle then left the roadway, struck a wooden post and fence, entered a field and collided with a tree. It then came to rest,” she said.

Witnesses saw smoke after the crash and stopped nearby and emergency services were contacted.

Russell became hysterical after making his plea for help for his friends. 

The advocate depute said that the witnesses tried to assist the three passengers, who were unconscious, and police and paramedics arrived.

Mr King died after sustaining significant head trauma. Mr Aird and Mr Stevens were airlifted to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Mr Aird remained unconscious and despite the efforts of medical staff his condition deteriorated and he was pronounced dead on November 16, 2018. He died as a result of head and chest injuries.

Mr Stevens sustained a broken leg and ribs and a fractured collar bone. He was treated in hospital and discharged after a week.

Ms McQuillan said: “Daniel Stevens remembers nothing of the collision or the party.”

Russell was breathalysed by police after confirming he was the driver and gave a positive test. He was taken to hospital in Dundee after complaining of a sore shoulder. 

On admission, a blood sample was taken from him. It was analysed and found to contain 118 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit in Scotland is 50 milligrams.

Defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson told the court: “This is clearly an absolute tragedy.”

Mr Paterson said that as Russell was a first offender and under 21, a background report would be required before sentencing. He asked for bail to be continued for the roofer.

He told the judge, Lord Boyd of Duncansby: “He is aware Your Lordship will, of course, be considering the imposition of a custodial sentence.”

The judge adjourned the case for sentencing next month and agreed to continue bail, but warned that a jail sentence was very much at the forefront of his mind. 

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