Drunk driver admits causing deaths of two granddads

John Laird and Michael McManamon were killed after Darren Sturgeon crashed into them in Glasgow.

Drunk driver admits causing deaths of two granddads in Glasgow crash

A drunk driver has admitted causing the deaths of two granddads on their way home from a night of playing dominoes.

Darren Sturgeon, 35, hit John Laird’s vehicle in Glasgow’s Kings Park on November 18, 2022.

His speeding Ford Mondeo hit the passenger side of Mr Laird’s Mercedes as he turned right at a junction.

The collision caused both cars to smash into metal railings.

Mr Laird’s passenger Michael McManamon, 73, died at the scene while the 80-year-old driver passed away in hospital.

Sturgeon had earlier got behind the wheel while drunk, missing one shoe and wearing a bandage on his foot.

He had had surgery to amputate one of his toes and remove a toe nail a week before the crash.

On Tuesday, February 27, 2024, Sturgeon pled guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to causing the deaths of Mr Laird and Mr McManamon by dangerous driving.

He also admitted driving without insurance at the time of the collision.

The court heard that Mr Laird and Mr McManamon had been at a bowling club that night playing dominoes.

Sturgeon’s Ford Mondeo was later noted by witnesses to be driving at excessive speeds one mile from the crash site.

The car was driven erratically with Sturgeon swerving and overtaking the witness’ car on the opposing lane.

Sturgeon then went through a roundabout in the wrong direction.

Sturgeon went on to drive at what was believed to be 70 to 80mph.

He approached the junction at King’s Park Avenue while Mr Laird was driving on the opposite side of the road.

Prosecutor Graeme Jessop said: “Mr Laird intended to turn right into Kings Park Avenue and used the filter lane to do so.

“Mr Laird began his right turn prior to the filter light being illuminated, but as he did so, the front of Sturgeon’s car collided with his car at the passenger side.

“Mr Laird’s car was pushed around ten metres northwest into a set of metal railings.

“Sturgeon’s car rotated anti-clockwise and travelled virtually across the second lane of the carriageway, mounted the central reservation.

“The car continued into the opposing carriageway and collided with a set of metal railings at the other side.”

Emergency services attended but Mr McManamon was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Laird was taken to hospital but died a short time later.

A post-mortem examination carried out determined the cause of deaths as “multiple injuries caused by road traffic collision.”

Police found Sturgeon in the driver’s seat of his car. He appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and failed a roadside breath test.

Retired electrician and offshore oil worker Mr Laird is survived by his wife, son, daughter and grandson.

Retired foreman Mr McManamon is survived by his two daughters and three granddaughters.

Sturgeon’s defence advocate Joseph Barr read out a letter written by his client apologising to the families who were in attendance at court.

An excerpt read: “I don’t know where to start or what to say.

“I know I mean nothing to the family and I know how angry I would be if it was a member of my family.

“I cannot emphasize how much I am sorry for the loss of your family members.”

Sentence was deferred pending background reports until next month at the High Court in Aberdeen by Judge Lord Colbeck.

He said he expects to hand Sturgeon a “lengthy custodial sentence”.

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