Driver detained for 42 months after deaths of teen pals in Standing Stane Road crash

A young drink driver who caused the deaths of two teenage friends in a crash on the Standing Stane Road after he drove off from a party has been ordered to be detained for 42 months.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 12:58 pm
Memorial match for Connor Aird and Ethan King, held at Stark's Park (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

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

Russell, now 20, managed to get out of the vehicle and told witnesses who went to their aid: "Help my friends. Can you get them out the car? It's all my fault."

One of the passengers, 17-year-old Ethan King, was pronounced dead by paramedics and a second Connor Aird, also 17, later died in hospital.

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Ethan King & Connor Aird

The third passenger, Daniel Stevens, suffered serious injuries and spent a week in hospital.

A judge told Russell that he should have known the risks of driving after consuming alcohol and with a limited amount of sleep.

Lord Boyd of Duncansby said that if he was going to drink he should not have taken the car and added: "What happened here should be a warning for others."

"The victims are not just those who have died, but those left to grieve," said the judge.

He told Russell that if he had been a mature adult offender he would have jailed him for six to seven years for the offence. He was also banned from driving for four years..

Russell, of Valley Gardens, Leslie, earlier admitted causing the deaths by careless driving while over the drink drive limit.

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

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that he had held a full driving licence for just 55 days when the fatal collision occurred after he lost control of the car.

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Advocate depute Leanne McQuillan said that on the evening of November 10 in 2018 into the early hours of the next day Russell and his passengers had attended a party at a girl's home in Windygates.

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

The prosecutor said: "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 8.15 am the girl's father got up and noticed four youths were still in the garden and went out and told them it was time to leave.

He was uncomfortable about them leaving in a car and went to speak to them. He thought the passengers seemed drunk, but Russell did not and he drove off.

The collision happened about 20 minutes later as Russell headed in the direction of Kirkcaldy. Two motorists were driving behind his car.

The advocate depute 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."

Witnesses saw smoke and stopped and the emergency services were alerted.

As they approached the vehicle they saw Russell walk around from the driver's side as he made a plea to help his friends.

He told police he was the driver and gave a positive breath test. A blood sample from him was later analysed and found to contain 118 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 50 milligrams of alcohol.

Mr King was found to have died after sustaining significant head trauma. Mr Aird died on November 16 as a result of chest and head injuries.

Mr Stevens suffered fractured bones but made a full recovery, although suffers occasional pain in a leg. The court heard he remembers nothing of the crash or the party.

Defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson, for Russell, said: "He made a clear error to drive that morning - a dreadful error of judgement - and he understands that."

"There was a lapse in concentration, as he accepts, which led to this tragic accident," he told the court.

Mr Paterson said: "He does accept absolutely that he is going to be sent into custody today and he hopes that brings some solace to the families because he is deeply remorseful about what has happened."

"He will live with it for the rest of his life," he added.

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