Police officer four times over drink driving limit in Bathgate roundabout smash

A serving police officer left a trail of debris on the roads when he smashed his car through a series of roundabouts while four times the legal limit.

Friday, 20th July 2018, 11:02 am
Updated Friday, 20th July 2018, 11:07 am

Horrified witnesses who followed Craig O’Mara’s drunken 3.30am rampage called 999 to alert the police that he was “swerving all over the road” and “bouncing off the kerb”.

As they watched they saw the 29-year-old detective constable’s blue Nissan Micra Driving over Boghall roundabout on the A7066 in Bathgate colliding with the central island and leaving a tyre and his number plate behind.

Alistair Macleod, prosecuting, told Livingston Sheriff Court that O’Mara’s car hit the railings so hard that the rear leapt in the air and the people following him could see the underside of the car before it crashed back down. Another wheel came off during the final collision.

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The officer was 4-times over the drink driving limit

The fiscal said: “The witnesses saw the accused get out and watched as he took various items out of the car, which they presumed were bottles due to the sound of clinking.

“The accused was then observed to drink out of one of the bottles before throwing three or four bottles ahead of him into a field.”

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Mr Macleod said police arrived at the scene half a minute later and saw O’Mara standing at the open driver’s door.

The incident happened at the A7066. Picture; Google

He said: “They approached him and noted that he appeared intoxicated. His speech was slurred and he smelled of alcohol.

“Police officers asked the accused what had happened and he stated that he was trying to save his brother.

“Officers noted the vehicle was missing both front tyres and was smoking from the engine compartment with the cabin full of smoke.

“There was extensive damage to the front, the windscreen was smashed and there was a large gouge in the roof.

“The left front wing of the vehicle was not in place and could be seen in the rear of the car.”

Mr Macleod said O’Mara initially said he was uninjured but, when he was asked to take a roadside breath test, he claimed he had a migraine and chest pain and wanted to go to hospital.

He then retracted his complaint about health problems and indicated to his fellow officers that he had “f****d up”.

Officers waited until 20 minutes after his last drink before giving him a breath test, but he blew outside the tube of the device so no sample was obtained, then refused to take another test.

He was taken to Livingston Police Station where he provided a reading of 88 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath – four times the legal drink driving limit.

Other officers later collected debris from O’Mara’s car where he had struck the kerbs and hit lights and road signs, leaving them leaning at crazy angles.

They also recovered bottles from a hedge and a field where the accused had thrown them after crashing his car.

O’Mara, based with Police Scotland at Livingston, appeared for sentence on Thursday after earlier pleading guilty to dangerous driving, drink driving, refusing to give a breath sample and failing to report the accident on May 5.

Pamela Rodgers, defending, said her client had been going through major personal problems as a result of the breakdown of his marriage and his brother’s gambling addiction.

She added: “Following on from that, his brother was being investigated by the department in which he worked, which was causing distress.

“There was a business he ran with his brother which had significant debts running into tens of thousands of pounds and this all span out of control over a long period of time.”

She said O’Mara had written a letter of apology to the witnesses who reported him to police.

Social workers had assessed him as being at low risk of reoffending and he had taken no alcohol since the incident.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Douglas Kinloch told O’Mara: “It’s very sad to see a serving police officer in court on quite serious road traffic offences.

“In your drunken state you collided with various items of street furniture and, after the police arrived, you foolishly refused to provide a specimen of breath for analysis, thinking you might avoid prosecution.

“I accept that you were under a lot of pressure at the time – that’s a factor in your favour – and very, very fortunately no-one was injured in this episode.

“Given your previous good character, the remorse you have shown and , most importantly, the profound effect on your life, including the probable loss of your job, I can deal with this case by way of a direct alternative to custody by imposing a community payback order.”

He placed O’Mara under supervision for a year with a condition that he undergo alcohol treatment, disqualified him from driving for 19 months with a condition that he resit the extended driving test and fined him GBP480.

O’Mara’s brother Darren was jailed for nine months in 2013 for selling non-existent iPhones on eBay.

A year later he was locked up for 16 months after raking in £150,000 on made-up mobiles and gig tickets.

Last August he came under investigation again after dozens of customers complained they paid his company Funtubz up to GBP390 a time via Facebook for outdoor baths which they allegedly never received.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “We note the sentencing of a serving officer for various road traffic offences that were committed while off-duty and a report will now be submitted to the Deputy Chief Constable for his consideration.”