Glasgow & West Scotland

Man guilty of killing taxi driver in head-on crash

Slavi Todorov Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Slavi Todorov will be sentenced next month

A man killed a 76-year-old taxi driver after drinking vodka and driving on the wrong side of the road.

Slavi Todorov, 34, was convicted of causing the death of Neill Mackie by dangerous driving on 9 July last year on the A70 Coylton to Ayr road.

The Bulgarian admitted driving with an alcohol count of 64 - almost three times the legal limit of 22.

The crash happened after Todorov, who had been visiting his brother-in-law, drove off after downing vodka.

Minutes after leaving the house near Ayr he phoned his husband and said: "I've crashed the car, baby, I'm sorry," and then the phone went dead.

Taxi driver Gary Keenan came across the wreckage of Todorov's Range Rover Evoque and Mr Mackie's Ford Mondeo as he drove back to Ayr.

'He was motionless'

Mr Keenan, 50, said: "It was very dark.

"It was difficult to see the wreckage until I was almost on it."

He said he saw Todorov sitting in the driver's seat of the Evoque and added: "He was motionless.

"At first I thought he was dead.

"He was staring straight ahead."

Mr Keenan told the court he then went over to the other car where Mr Mackie was trapped between the driver's seat and the steering wheel.

He said: "He was struggling for breath. I put my hand on his shoulder and told him 'hang on there's an ambulance coming.'"

Mr Mackie died in hospital from multiple injuries suffered in the collision.

PC Steven Callaghan said as he was being driven to Ayr police station, first offender Todorov confessed that he thought he was on the wrong side of the road.

PC Callaghan added: "He said it repeatedly.

"He was really distressed and had genuine concerns for the well-being of the other driver."

Drinking vodka

His colleague PC Allan Auld said: "He stated he had been driving to his home in Kilmarnock and believed he was on the wrong side of the road.

"We could smell he had been drinking, but he was talking fine, his English was fine.

"He was concerned about the accident."

Todorov's husband, John Kennedy, said they had gone to his brother's home for dinner.

He added: "We were drinking vodka and I had some wine.

"Around 2am my brother and sister-in-law had gone to bed and Slavi and I were watching television.

"Slavi said I think we should go home and I said no we are staying over."

Mr Kennedy said he went to the toilet and when he came back he saw car lights heading out the driveway and when he checked, the car was gone.

He told prosecutor Michael Meehan: "I was a bit dumbfounded.

"Then the phone rang and it was Slavi saying he had been in an accident.

"He said ' I've crashed the car, baby. I'm sorry.'"

Todorov had denied dangerous driving.

Judge Lord Ericht deferred sentence on him until next month and remanded him into custody.

Defence QC Murray Macara will give his plea in mitigation then.

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