Fatal crash driver fell asleep at wheel

Adam Docherty (Lesley Donald Photography)
Adam Docherty (Lesley Donald Photography)

A “hard-working” man fell asleep at the wheel seconds before his car crashed with another vehicle, killing a motorist.

A court heard last week that Adam Docherty was “seriously sleep deprived” at the time of the fatal crash.

Victim George Izatt, of Methil

Victim George Izatt, of Methil

Docherty (28) admitted causing death by careless driving, resulting in severe injury to passengers in both cars, himself, and George Izatt, who died on August 22, 2010 on the A92 Glenrothes to Dundee road.

He fell asleep while driving his car and crossed the central hazard lines, colliding with the oncoming car driven by Mr Izatt (54), of Kirkland Walk, Methil.

Docherty told police after the collision he had no recollection of it.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard he was “a hardworking and positive member of society” but his work ethic had played a part in the offence.

The apprentice joiner, of Denvale Gardens, Kennoway, also had a part-time post as a nightclub bar supervisor and was involved with Army cadets.

He had been at the Barry Buddon camp in Angus that weekend and did a shift at the club into the early hours of August 22 before driving a workmate home.

About 4.30am, he collected his cousin Patrick Docherty from his home and they drove to Asda before setting off on the journey towards Dundee, returning to the camp.

Advocate depute Andrew Brown QC said the cousin “had no concerns about the accused or his driving at this stage”.

Mr Izatt was driving home from a fishing trip with three friends, Charles Williams, William Scott and Jason Farmer.

Mr Brown said: “He is described as driving slowly and carefully which, according to his passengers, was the deceased’s normal mode of driving.”

About 5.35am, Mr Williams and Mr Scott saw headlights from a car driving straight towards them.

Patrick Docherty also remembered waking up and realising his cousin’s car was on the wrong side of the road.

Despite warnings given in both vehicles, the impact followed, with all witnesses losing consciousness.

Mr Brown said from the road layout, it was apparent that the accused fell asleep only seconds before the collision.

Mr Izatt died of multiple serious internal injuries.

A sleep expert consulted by the Crown described Docherty as “seriously sleep deprived” but said the timing of the incident was significant, as it occurred close to the lowest point of alertness when it was very difficult to resist involuntary sleep.

Defence counsel Frances Connor said Docherty was anxious to express his remorse to everyone involved. “Had he felt tired, then he would not have gone on the journey,” she said.

Lord Uist adjourned the case for a background report to be prepared ahead of sentencing. He allowed Docherty to remain on bail and imposed an interim driving ban.