A LEARNER driver who crashed a car on a Johnstone road on Boxing Day while high on drugs has been spared jail.

Robert White, 42, lost control of a VW Golf on Beith Road.

He had taken 75ml of methadone a short time before getting behind the wheel to head to the shops.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard he was so high on the prescription drug he lost control of the hatchback, struck a kerb and crashed into a fence near a crossing.

The details emerged last week when White, of Tannahill Crescent, Johnstone, appeared in the dock for a pre-trial hearing.

He pleaded guilty to driving while having only a provisional licence without a qualified driver in the car and without L-plates displayed, as well as driving while unfit through drugs on December 26 last year.

Charges of failing to report the crash and being in possession of cannabis were dropped.

Procurator fiscal depute Pamela Flynn told the court: “There was another vehicle on the road and the driver of that vehicle observed the accused lose control of his vehicle and hit the kerb. This resulted in the vehicle coming to rest against a fence at a pedestrian crossing.“The accused was seen to exit the vehicle.”

White took off on foot but the police had been contacted and they detained him up the road, noting he was unsteady on his feet and slurring his words.

Defence solicitor Mark Chambers said: “He is prescribed methadone and had taken his allowance of 75ml about 30 minutes before the incident.
“He had taken the medication, but though it is prescription medication, it is no excuse.

“He was going to the shops and lost control of the vehicle.”

Unemployed Whitereceived Employment Support Allowance was spared jail by Sheriff Craig Harris, who fined him £450 and banned him from driving for 18 months, reduced from two years as he admitted his guilt.

Sheriff Harris said: “You should have been aware that, having taken the methadone, you were in no fit state to drive and it’s compounded by the fact you do not have a licence.

“There should’ve been someone in the car with you.”