Teenager caught driving at 120mph ‘allowed to keep licence’

Darryl Hopwood escaped disqualification. Picture; contributed
Darryl Hopwood escaped disqualification. Picture; contributed

A teenager caught driving at 120mph on a dual carriageway has avoided a driving ban.

Darryl Hopwood, 19, escaped being disqualified despite being clocked in Fife at 50mph over the speed limit in his Ford Focus.

His excuse was that he was “running late” for a football match, even though the offence occurred at 6am.

Hopwood, of Linn Mill, South Queensferry, appeared in the dock at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

He admitted that on 19th August on the A92 between Crossgates and Cowdenbeath he drove a car at 120 miles per hour, in excess of the speed limit of 70mph.

Depute fiscal Jane Rennie said the offence occurred at 6am and was detected via a speed camera.

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Defence solicitor Lene Doherty gave the sheriff three letters of reference on her client’s behalf.

The explanation she gave was that Hopwood was going to play in a football match and was “running late”.

She went on, “He appreciates the severity of the offence and accepts the speed was grossly excessive. He appreciates the risks of driving at that speed and has shown remorse.”

She added that her client had no previous convictions and no penalty points.

Appealing for him not to be banned, she said Hopwood was a product support worker with Astrak and his workplace is 30 miles from his home.

“If he lost his licence it would mean a daily trip of three-and-a-half hours on public transport, which would be a major inconvenience,” said the solicitor.

He also needed his licence to take family members to church, she added.

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“He’s a young man who made a mistake and has learned his lesson,” Ms Doherty concluded.

Sheriff Craig McSherry said, “Usually in this court people driving in excess of 100mph can expect a period of disqualification.

“It’s with some reluctance I’m not going to do that.”

He added that Hopwood’s young age, clean driving licence and the fact the offence occurred at 6am when the road would have been relatively quiet were the reasons for that decision.

Instead, Hopwood was fined £700 and had his licence endorsed with five penalty points.