Motorcylist fined after horror road crash

Dale Johnstone leaves court. Picture: Vic Rodrick
Dale Johnstone leaves court. Picture: Vic Rodrick
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A MOTORCYCLIST raced past drivers at a pedestrian crossing “like a bullet” before smashing headlong into a car pulling out of a junction, a court heard.

Dale Johnstone was catapulted into the air by the force of the collision and suffered life-threatening injuries when he hit the road.

Livingston Sheriff Court heard that doctors warned he would die within two or three days because of the gravity of severe head injuries and a ruptured spleen.

But, against all the odds, the 25-year-old responded to treatment and survived.

Johnstone, of Riddochill Road, Blackburn, appeared for sentence yesterday after earlier pleading guilty to driving dangerously on the town’s Bathgate Road on April 4 this year.

He admitted driving at excessive speed, overtaking vehicles in the face of oncoming traffic and failing to observe a car pulling out of a junction, colliding with it and injuring himself.

Johnstone was said to be unfit to work as a result of the crash and living on benefits of just £55 a week. He was fined £300 and banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay the fine by fortnightly instalments of £10.

Lindsey Armstrong, prosecuting, said the incident 
happened in a 30mph limit in daylight at around 5.15pm.

As the driver of the car pulled out of the junction, a number of witnesses became aware of the motorcycle being driven by the accused.

She said: “It was described as ‘going like a bullet’, ‘whizzing past’ and ‘coming from nowhere’. The motorcycle driven by the accused collided with the rear offside of the witness’ car, resulting in the accused being thrown from the bike and landing on the roadway.

“Emergency services were contacted and the accused’s injuries initially were classed as likely to prove fatal.”

She said a collision investigation was carried out due to the seriousness of the crash and CCTV footage was obtained showing what happened.

Darryl Lovie, defending, said his client remembered nothing of the incident. He added: “In fact, he can’t remember the preceding week, so significant were his injuries – with particular reference to his brain injury.

“When he was admitted to hospital the expectation was that he would die and thankfully thereafter his condition unexpectedly improved.

“It’s uncertain whether or not he’ll make a full recovery but at present he’s certainly fairly significantly cognitively impaired.”

Sheriff Jamie Gilmour told Johnstone: “In view of your limited income, the court will require to reduce the fine to a suitable sum despite the fact I see from your previous convictions that you have a very poor driving record.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com