Van driver on drugs smashed into woman’s car causing fire



The dangerous driving of a van driver who was under the influence of drugs resulted in numerous calls to the police from concerned witnesses.

Patrick Philbin sped through Cowdenbeath High Street at 8.30am, mounting a pavement, before driving into the opposite carriageway and smashing into a car, which caught fire.

Fortunately, the female driver escaped but firemen had to free Philbin who was trapped in his van.

Philbin (24),  of Lumphinnans, was jailed for eight months at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

He admitted that on 21st May last year in High Street, Cowdenbeath, he drove a van dangerously and repeatedly swerved into the opposing carriageway.

He repeatedly caused other road users to take evasive action to avoid a collision, mounted the pavement, approached a corner at excessive speed, drove into the opposing carriageway and collided with a car driven by a woman, whereby both vehicles were extensively damaged and both of them were injured.

He also admitted driving on the A909 Cowdenbeath-Kelty road culpably and recklessly whilst unfit through drink or drugs.

Depute fiscal Azrah Yousaf told the court that at around 8.30am Police Scotland began receiving numerous calls about a white Ford Transit van being driven erratically.

“The van was swerving from lane to lane. The vehicle was picked up on CCTV being driven into Cowdenbeath High Street,” said the depute.

“Again it was crossing into the opposite carriageway and it mounted a pavement in the High Street.

“At 8.35am the woman was driving towards Cowdenbeath. She saw the van coming towards her in her lane and there was a collision.”

The woman got out of her car before it caught fire but Philbin was trapped in his van.

The fire service attended and Philbin was freed from the vehicle. He appeared to be under the influence of substances and his mouth was blue.

The woman and Philbin were both taken to hospital for treatment.

Defence solicitor Roshni Joshi said her client had written a letter of apology and she handed it to the sheriff.

She said Philbin had fallen into drugs misuse following the death of his father.

“He accepts his driving was extremely serious. He makes no excuses and takes full responsibility for his behaviour. He sustained a fairly serious hip injury as a result.

“He accepts his behaviour was utterly reckless and stupid,” added the solicitor.

The court was told Philbin was currently serving a six-month jail term for another offence and was due to be released on 7th May.

However, Sheriff Craig McSherry jailed Philbin for another eight months to follow his current term and banned him from driving for two years.

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