A TEENAGER suspected of being drunk drove off and struck a police officer despite a colleague smashing the driver’s window and trying to grab the car keys.
Nineteen-year-old David Murphy-Clark was pursued by a police vehicle but refused to stop and made his escape but was later traced to his home in Hassendean Court, Hawick.
He pleaded guilty at Selkirk Sheriff Court to charges of dangerous driving while under the influence of alcohol and refusing to stop when requested to do so by an officer in uniform.
The apprentice plasterer, who was 17 at the time of the incident in February last year, was fined £1,200 and banned from the road for two years and ordered to re-sit the extended test.
Depute fiscal Alison Atkins said the incident in Bowden Road, Hawick, started at around 4am when a resident looked out of his property and saw a stationary vehicle with the engine running.
She continued: “The member of the public went over to the vehicle.
“Murphy-Clark was in the driver’s seat but could not be wakened and police were contacted.
“When officers arrived they knocked loudly on the window and there was an occasional arousing but he showed little attention to the police.
“He appeared to be heavily under the influence of alcohol and was warned a number of times that if he did not open the door the window would be smashed.
“There were four police officers in the roadway trying to converse with the accused.
“He then put his car into first gear and it was clear he was going to drive away.
“A sergeant smashed the window and a constable attempted to grab the keys.
“The accused drove off with one officer having to take avoiding action to get out of the path of the car.
“He continued to drive off and struck the arm of another officer causing a minor injury.
“The accused drove past a police vehicle. The police vehicle then pursued the accused with blue lights on and making signs for the accused to stop.
“They lost sight of the accused but later traced the vehicle and it was unoccupied.”
The fiscal said that Murphy-Clark was not traced at this particular time and the vehicle was seized.
At 9.30am the police were advised Murphy-Clark had returned to his home address and he identified himself as the driver at 4.30am.
He was cautioned and charged and replied: “It was stupid.”
The police officer suffered a small cut on his right hand and experienced soreness in his arm.”
Sheriff Richard Fife contested Murphy-Clark’s lawyer claim that her client had made a “split-second decision” to drive saying he had been pursued by police and made an escape.
She said: “He is now 19 but at the time of the offence he was 17. He got a fright when the officers woke him up and made the split-second decision to drive off and continued.”
Sheriff Fife told Murphy-Clark: “I would be entitled to get a report to consider all sentencing options. It is a very serious offence and could merit custody.”
But the sheriff said he was taking into account Murphy-Clark’s age.
He said he would have banned him for three years but reduced it to two years to reflect the guilty plea.
Similarly the fine would have been £1,600 and was reduced to £1,200.