A STUDENT who mowed down and killed a champion Scots skier in the United States as he drove home drunk from a party has been jailed for three years.
Patrick Compton, 22, lost control of his 4x4 and smashed into fellow student Craig Macfie, 24, who was cycling to his student home in Eugene, Oregon.
Mr Macfie, from Morningside, Edinburgh, who had won a string of skiing titles, died in hospital the following day.
Lane County Circuit Court in Oregon heard Mr Macfie had lined up a dream job in London.
Mr Macfie was also under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, and tested positive for marijuana. He and Compton had mutual friends at the University of Oregon.
The court heard a letter from Mr Macfie’s parents, Rosie and Andy, who said they had felt “incomplete, numb and empty” since a local hospital chaplain called to tell them their eldest child was dying.
The parents said in the letter they arrived hours later to find “15 of his American friends” keeping vigil before he died .
The couple expressed gratitude to 80 people who attended a local memorial service and installed a “ghost bike” at the crash scene in memory of his death.
They said one of the hardest moments was three weeks after his death, when he received a job offer from the company he had hoped to work for in London.
His mother had said how much she was going to miss him in his final term of university, to which her son said: “Don’t worry, Mum, I’ll be back in December, and then we can spend as much time together as you wish.”
The couple wrote of the impact of his “cruel” death on Mr Macfie’s brothers, Alastair and Euan, and sister Catriona.
He said they stopped sending Christmas and birthday cards “because writing five names instead of six is too difficult.”
The court heard, on the night of the crash, Compton had drunk three glasses of wine and two vodka-and-cranberry juices.
Prosecutor Jo-Ann Miller said Compton was speeding in a 20mph zone at the time of the accident, at 2:26am last November. He struck Mr Macfie’s bicycle from behind as the other student rode in a marked bicycle lane.
Ms Miller added: “This is a case that should cause great concern for just about everyone, especially parents of college students, because [Compton] isn’t what you think of as a bad person.”
Compton, who has no previous convictions, was twice the legal limit. He stayed with Mr Macfie until paramedics arrived.
Police requested he perform a sobriety test, which measures balance and coordination, and he failed it. The American anthropology student pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide, reduced from second-degree manslaughter, as well as driving under the influence.
Compton told the court before sentencing: “I will keep his life and memory in my mind and on my heart. I always will attempt to live a life of honour for his life and for myself.”
Mr Macfie was a business administration and sports marketing major, and was just a month from graduating when he died.
He competed in the British alpine ski team and had won a string of ski titles.