Highlands & Islands

Driver admits causing friend's death in South Uist crash

A 20-year-old has admitted causing the death of his friend by driving dangerously as he returned from a football match on a Hebridean island.

Alistair Downie lost control of his Peugeot, causing lifelong friend Carl MacPhee, 19, to be hurled from the vehicle.

The apprentice mechanic was remanded in custody and faces a lengthy jail-term when he returns to court next month.

The crash happened on the island of South Uist in September 2014.

Downie and Mr MacPhee had been at school together and both played football for Lochdar Saints, based in South Uist.

The driver had only passed his test three months before he took a number of his team-mates to the away match on the nearby island of Eriskay.

The crash occurred as he drove them back after the game.

Upturned vehicle

The High Court in Glasgow was told two other passengers felt Downie was going too fast for the often bumpy road.

The car initially smacked the kerb before crashing through a wire fence.

The upturned vehicle then hurtled through a garden fence knocking down a tree.

It rolled across a lawn up to seven times before finally coming to a halt close to a house.

Mr MacPhee and another young passenger had been thrown from the vehicle.

The 19-year-old died from a chest injury as a result of the crash.

Crash scene investigators said the minimum speed at the time was 51mph. The limit for that stretch of road was 40mph.

It was concluded the responsibility "rests entirely with the driver".

Downie's lawyer told the court he will "never forgive himself" for causing the death.

Judge Lady Scott deferred sentencing on the first offender for reports.

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