Drink driver admits killing men helping at A737 crash

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Thomas Irvine
Image caption,
Irvine faces a prison term when he is sentenced next year

A drink driver has admitted killing two men as they helped an elderly woman who was trapped inside her crashed car.

Thomas Irvine, 48, was more than double the legal limit when he ploughed into the men and car on the A737 Linclive Spur in Renfrewshire in January 2010.

He admitted causing the deaths of Thomas Rarity, 47, and 39-year-old Anthony Gordon by driving dangerously and at excessive speed.

Sentence on Irvine was deferred and he was remanded in custody.

The High Court in Glasgow heard how the tragedy unfolded after Isabella Kelly, 71, pulled out from the inside lane on the eastbound carriageway in her Volkswagen Polo.

Two crashes

She came into the path of a car which was in the outside lane. The collision caused the Polo to cross the central reservation and come to rest upside down in the westbound carriageway.

Ms Kelly suffered a cut to her head and injuries to her ankles and shoulder but was trapped inside the car.

Mr Rarity, from Bathgate, West Lothian, left his wife and stepson in their Volkswagen Sharan and ran to help the pensioner.

He was joined by Mr Gordon, from Glasgow, who left his BMW and went to assist.

Both men crossed from the eastbound carriageway, over the central crash barrier, into the westbound carriageway and tried to get Ms Kelly out of her car.

They had been standing beside her car for about 40 seconds when Irvine overtook a row of cars stopped on the inside lane with their hazard warning lights on.

The court was told how he was estimated to be travelling at 70mph in his Vauxhall Combo van when he drove it into the two men and upturned Volkswagen Polo on 31 January this year.

The HGV driver and qualified plumber, from Paisley, did not brake after the collision and his van ended up in a ditch.

The impact caused the Polo to roll across the carriageway and right itself.

Mr Rarity died at the scene and Mr Gordon died on 6 February in Glasgow's Southern General Hospital. Ms Kelly survived.

Judge Lord Pentland deferred sentence on Irvine until next year at the High Court in Edinburgh and remanded him in custody.

He told Irvine: "This is in view of the extreme gravity of this offence and the inevitability of a substantial custodial sentence.

"The public interest would be better served by you being remanded."

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