Glasgow & West Scotland

Drunk driver James Carrick admits causing Ryan Bell's death

Ryan Bell
Image caption Ryan Bell died at the scene of the crash

A teenage drink driver has admitted causing the death of his 15-year-old friend after crashing while trying to get away from a police car in Glasgow.

James Carrick, 18, was almost twice the drink-drive limit, when he smashed into a parked car, a fence and a wall in the Drumchapel area in March last year.

Ryan Bell died at the scene. Carrick, and two teenage girls who were also passengers, were injured.

Carrick was granted bail pending sentence in May.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that Carrick was driving around in his red Peugeot 107 with Ryan and two 15-year-old girls, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Car 'sparks'

At 02:00 on 20 March 2011, Ryan's mother dialled 999 saying she had just seen her son and the girls getting into the Peugeot.

She told the police operator the driver had a bottle of Buckfast and said she was concerned.

The court heard that Carrick was seen driving at speed and almost collided with a stationary taxi.

Sparks were also seen coming from the undercarriage of his car as he drove over speed bumps.

Minutes later a police car put on its blue lights and signalled him to pull over.

Instead of doing so Carrick drove off at speed, through a red light and crashed into a stationary car, causing his car to flip in mid-air.

The court was told that Ryan died at the scene from horrific head injuries.

Carrick was also injured along with both girls. One of them suffered brain injury which may affect her chances of holding down a job.

After the crash, Carrick, from Knightswood, Glasgow, told police: "What have I done, I'm an idiot."

'I was steaming'

Officers could smell alcohol on his breath and he added: "I'll admit it all. I was steaming, I was drink driving."

Carrick added that no one in the car was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

The teenager admitted causing death by dangerous driving by driving at speed and with an alcohol count of 135 on 20 March last year.

The offences happened in Drumry Road, Drumry Road East and Drumtreath Avenue, all Drumchapel.

The court heard that because the police had been pursuing Carrick at the time of the crash, an independent investigation was mounted by Lothian and Borders Police.

This concluded that the police car was never any closer than 15 to 20 lengths behind Carrick and no blame was attributed to the police driver.

Judge Lord Woolman told Carrick: "It is a tragic case. It is tragic for everyone in the car that night and particularly in the effect it has had on Ryan's family and the two girls."

"I read the victim impact, reading statements from Ryan's mother and grandmother and it is clear his death has has a shattering effect on the family."

Lord Woolman granted Carrick bail and deferred sentence until May at the High Court in Edinburgh.

He ordered Carrick to be disqualified from driving and warned him: "You should be under no illusions about the likely disposal in this case."

During the case, proceedings had to be halted while Ryan's mother ran from the court.

Speaking afterwards outside court, Andrea Anderson, 34, who has three other sons, said: "I think about Ryan every minute of every day. My family can't see any way forward.

"I feel as if I've been living in Hell since this happened. Ryan was my first born."

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