A DISQUALIFIED driver high on drugs who did doughnuts on a dual carriageway while travelling to T In The Park was jailed for nine months today
Lee Houston, who was driving a friend’s Ford Fiesta, tailgated other cars on the M9 and A9, at high speeds, collided with the barriers in the central reservation twice while attempting a 180-degree turn before carrying on the northbound carriageway before performing a second “doughnut” wheelspin.
A court heard that Houston, 26, from West Lothian, was on his way to the final day of the festival, being held this year for the second time at the Strathallan Estate near Auchterarder, Perthshire, after “a mad weekend” of drug-taking.
Other drivers phoned police in alarm after witnessing Houston’s behaviour behind the wheel.
Emma Jeffrey, prosecuting, said he was first spotted on the M9 driving towards Keir Roundabout, Dunblane, at 10.45 am, “very close” to another car, a blue Audi.
This continued until both cars joined the A9 northbound, where Houston, whose pal was in the passenger seat, tailgated a woman driver travelling north, driving so close that she had to change lanes to get out of his way.
A male driver who had first noticed Houston’s “dangerous” antics on the M9 followed him at a distance and observed the Ford Fiesta “weaving across the road between both carriageways” before colliding with the central barrier and spinning 180 degrees and coming to rest.
Miss Jeffrey said: “The witness stopped and approached the Ford Fiesta and told the occupants they should stop, as the police were on their way.
“The accused told the witness to ‘fuck off’ and sped off driving south on the northbound carriageway, then proceeded to spin 180 degrees to face the correct way and then sped off from sight.”
Miss Jeffrey said the dangerous manoeuvre was also witnessed by the female driver earlier tailgated, as she came round a corner at that point and upon the scene.
Police on patrol in Stirling were contacted and immediately made their way to the location.
They found the Ford Fiesta stationary at the side of the dual carriageway further north, partly on the grass verge, 400 yards beyond the turn-off for Braco, apparently having missed the junction where T In The Park traffic was being routed via the A820.
Houston’s passenger, the owner of the Ford Fiesta, was standing in a field at this point, but made his way back to the car when he saw the police.
Houston admitted he had been driving, and was arrested.
Houston, of Monkland Road, Bathgate, West Lothian, pleaded guilty at Stirling Sheriff Court to dangerous driving, and driving while disqualified.
Defence agent Stephen Maguire said his client had two previous convictions for driving while disqualified, after initially being banned for an accumulation of less-serious traffic offences, and was already banned until 2020.
Mr Maguire said: “He was travelling north on July 10th for the final day of T In The Park. He’d had what he called a ‘mad weekend’, and should not have been driving because of the disqualifications and also because over the weekend he had been indulging in drug misuse and his thought processes were affected.
“He accepts his driving was very serious.
“There’s a limit to what I can say in a mitigatory sense.”
Imposing the nine month jail term, Sheriff Wyllie Robertson told Houston: “The only appropriate disposal for an offence of such gravity is a custodial one.”
He also banned Houston for a further eight years, and ordered him to re-sit the full driving test before ever getting back behind the wheel.
Houston looked shocked as he was led to the cells, handcuffed to a female security guard.
Earlier this week, politicians called for tough clampdown on T In The Park, after it was revealed that three deaths this year at the event- Scotland’s largest outdoor music festival- were drug-related.
Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Murdo Fraser, said: “Festival organisers must take responsibility for public safety, and that includes discouraging the use of narcotics.
“An approach where drug use is seen as part and parcel of the festival cannot be allowed to continue -- lessons must be learned.”
Liz Smith, also a Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, demanded “renewed efforts” from police and organisers to educate revelers about the dangers of illicit substances. She has also suggested more drug-detection dogs at the festival site.