A Forres mechanic has been banned from driving for three years after causing a crash while drunk then fleeing the scene.
Shaun Smith, 28, sparked a police search after he went missing shortly after the collision in the early hours of September 23.
He was last seen in the Spynie Church area at 3am and was later arrested in connection with the crash on the B9013 Burghead to Newton Road at Alves.
The other driver had to be cut out of his car and taken to Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin.
Smith had been drinking at a pub in Forres when he was asked by an upset friend to meet up.
At Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday, depute fiscal Rowena Carlton described Smith as “too intoxicated” to safely drive a vehicle at the time.
She said: “The accused failed to stop at a junction while driving from Longhillock and entered the B9013 at speed.
“He collided with another vehicle which was being driven on the other side of the road and forced it off road and into the trees.
“There was extensive damage to both cars, and the accused got out his car, saw the other driver was not moving and made the decision to leave the scene and ran into the direction of Forres without leaving any details.”
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The other driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries and bruising.
The court heard from defence solicitor Grant Dalglish who claimed that his client had simply “panicked” and run away from the incident without thinking properly.
He said: “My client wasn’t thinking straight and had no thoughts of getting away but his memory is very blurry.
“When he calmed down he handed himself into police.”
Mr Dalglish asked Sheriff Olga Pasportnikov to stop just short of a custodial sentence as Smith was a father of three young kids and his employment as a mechanic would be lost if he went to jail.
Smith, of Romach Road, pled guilty to driving while under the influence, careless driving, failing to stop and give his name after an accident and leaving the scene of the crime.
Sheriff Pasportnikov disqualified him from driving for three years, gave him 300 hours of unpaid work and a six month restriction of liberty order.