Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Sleeping driver Adam Docherty caused fatal crash

Adam Docherty Image copyright CIARAN DONNELLY
Image caption The court heard that Adam Docherty fell asleep seconds before the fatal crash

A man fell asleep at the wheel seconds before his car crashed into another, killing the driver.

George Izatt, 54, had been driving back from a fishing trip with friends at about 05:35 on 22 August 2010 when he was killed.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Adam Docherty, 28, admitted causing death by careless driving on the A92 Glenrothes to Dundee road.

Sentence was deferred for background reports.

The crash also caused severe injury to passengers in both cars.

Image copyright Other
Image caption George Izatt died as a result of the crash

The court heard that Docherty had been "seriously sleep deprived" at the time of the crash.

He fell asleep while driving his car and crossed the central hazard lines colliding with the oncoming car driven by Mr Izatt, who was from Methil in Fife.

A passenger in the other car had tried to warn its driver by saying: "Look out George, that car's on the wrong side of the road."

After the collision Docherty, from Kennoway in Fife, told police: "I have no recollection of it. All I remember is leaving work, drop my mate off in Glenrothes.

"I went to Methil to pick up my cousin, then went to Asda in Glenrothes. The last thing I mind was leaving Asda in Glenrothes."

The court heard that Docherty was "a hardworking and positive member of society" but his work ethic had played a part in the offence.

The apprentice joiner also held down a part-time post as a bar supervisor at a nightclub and was involved with Army cadets.

He had been at the Barry Buddon camp in Angus that weekend and had done a shift at the club into the early hours of 22 August.

His cousin Patrick Docherty, who was in the car, said he remembered waking up and realising that the car was on the wrong side of the road.

'Sleep deprived'

He described Docherty as sitting upright with his head tipped to the right and shouted: "Adam get up, Adam there's a car."

The impact followed with all witnesses losing consciousness.

Advocate depute Andrew Brown said: "From the road layout it is apparent that the accused fell asleep only seconds before the collision."

A sleep expert consulted by the Crown described Docherty as "seriously sleep deprived" but thought the timing of the incident was significant as it occurred close to the lowest point of alertness when it is especially difficult to resist involuntary sleep.

Defence counsel Frances Connor said Docherty was anxious to express his remorse to everyone involved.

"Had he felt tired then he would not have gone on the journey," she said.

The judge, Lord Uist, allowed Docherty to remain on bail and imposed an interim driving ban.