A blind Scottish man has told a court that he had fulfilled his life-long ambition of driving – but crashed the car just moments after taking to the wheel.
42-year-old Paul Keatings, who is registered blind and uses a white stick, drove his mate’s Subaru Impreza while on a day trip.
Unfortunately – though perhaps unsurprisingly – he crashed the powerful saloon car after travelling less than a mile.
He was charged with driving dangerously through blindness and admitted driving without insurance and on a provisional licence, which he got before he lost his sight in his late twenties.
His friend, Brian Gillon, 33, has already admitted allowing a person unfit through blindness to drive the car and allowing a person with no insurance to drive the car.
Lanark Sheriff Court heard how Keatings was spotted after the car was seen to be driven erratically, swerving across the road before hitting a boulder a the entrance to a hotel.
Eyewitnesses said the car also came within inches of knocking down pedestrians during the course of the short-lived joyride.
Explaining his actions to the court, Keatings said: “I used to have a provisional licence and driving has always been a lifelong dream. When my friend suggested I give it a try, I jumped at the chance.
“He drives a Subaru, which is the same model as the rally driver Colin McRae famously drove. He had one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the handbrake. I had both hands on the steering wheel.
“I felt safe enough, because I was going slow and my friend had his hand on the wheel and was telling me where to go. But the next thing I knew we had hit a huge rock.
“I was shaken up and was just glad no-one had been hurt,” he said. “I know it was a really silly thing to do, and I’m sorry for what I’ve done.”
Sentencing has been deferred until next month, with Sheriff Nikola Stewart saying: “I need to know what on earth caused these people to behave in this utterly ridiculous manner.
“It was an utterly lethal thing to do. He couldn’t steer and he couldn’t brake.”