A jetlagged motorist has admitted causing a head-on crash that killed a well-known Cullen handyman.
Community stalwart Brian Lawrence, 77, died in the two-car crash on the A98 Buckie to Portsoy road, near the Findochty junction. His wife Marian was seriously hurt.
At Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday, Kenneth McKenzie admitted driving carelessly on the stretch and causing the death of the retired electrician.
The 52-year-old, who lives in Thailand, lost control of his car and crossed into the opposite carriageway, hitting Mr Lawrence’s Rover 75 head-on.
Fiscal depute John Anderson told the court McKenzie, who still has family living in Portsoy, had admitted he was suffering from jetlag the day before the crash.
He said: “A witness who attended to the accused after the crash was told that McKenzie had just arrived back from Thailand on Thursday and had suffered from jetlag.
“He had wanted to travel the previous day but had instead fell asleep. The crash investigation team suggested that any intention would be tiredness but McKenzie had not fallen asleep at the wheel.
“He lost control of his car for an unknown reason while negotiating a right hand bend and this is what caused the accident but we cannot tell why he oversteered so much on the right hand bend.”
Mr Lawrence was travelling with his wife Marian who was treated for serious injuries at Dr Gray’s Hospital.
He had to be cut out of the car following the incident and received CPR for about 20 minutes before being pronounced dead.
McKenzie was driving a silver Renault Megane and was also taken to hospital following the crash.
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Defence advocate Gavin Anderson expressed his client’s sincere apologies for what happened.
He said: “On behalf of my client, I offer a complete and unreserved apology to the court and sincere condolences to Mr Lawrence’s family.
“It has not been appropiate for him to comment publically on this until now although this case is not an easy one for the experts to investigate.
“He has fought to minimise further distress to the Lawrence family throughout this case.”
Sentence was deferred for a month for the preparation of background reports, and McKenzie was disqualified from driving in the meantime.
Tributes flooded in for Mr Lawrence following the tragedy, as he was a well-known face in the Cullen community.
He volunteered his time over the summer at the tourist information office in the Square, where his colleague Graham Bell described him as a “diamond of a bloke.”
The retired electrician was also always happy to use his skills to help others around the house.
The proud grandad also liked to to keep fit and was often seen walking around the scenic coastal spot.