Highlands & Islands

Man admits causing death by dangerous driving in A99 crash

Marc McDonald Image copyright Iain McLellan/Spindrift Photo Agency
Image caption A witness told of seeing Marc McDonald's car "going like hell"

A 31-year-old man has admitted causing a friend's death by dangerous driving.

Marc McDonald lost control of his modified Mitsubishi car and crashed on the A99 at Reiss, near Wick, on 12 February 2015.

Gavin Farquhar, 30, who was not wearing a seatbelt, died after being thrown through the rear window.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that during part of the journey, the car's average speed was 113mph.

The men, who grew up in Reiss, had earlier in the day attended the funeral of McDonald's grandmother.

The court also heard that McDonald, an offshore industry deep sea welder, had a string of road traffic offences - and was previously disqualified from driving for 18 months in 2007 for dangerous driving.

The car involved in the fatal crash, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7, was capable of going from 0-60mph in just over five seconds, the court heard.

Prosecutor Jim Keegan QC said one witness described McDonald as "going like hell. Very, very fast".

'Ridiculous speed'

The court was told McDonald eventually lost control as he tried to negotiate a bend.

Mr Keegan said: "He was able to straighten his car up. But it then entered the grass verge colliding with a drain cover, signpost and dry stone dyke before hitting a large boulder."

The Mitsubishi continued to spin, resulting in it going into another wall. It was at this point Mr Farquhar was thrown from the vehicle.

Witnesses went to help Mr Farquhar who had a severe head injury. He was taken to hospital, but did not survive his injuries.

McDonald suffered fractures in his vertebrae.

He told police shortly after the crash that the car was "unreliable" as it had "been in the shed all winter".

The Mitsubishi had a top speed of 157mph. The court heard modifications "did not make it unsafe".

Mr Keegan said it was found that McDonald had an average speed of 113mph during part of the journey on the day of the crash. The stretch of road involved had a 60mph limit.

Judge Lord Turnbull described McDonald's speed that day as "ridiculous".

He was remanded in custody and sentence was adjourned until 7 February at the High Court in Edinburgh.

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