Former teacher banned from driving after causing near head-on A1 crash near Alnwick

A retired teacher who caused a crash on the A1 has been banned for dangerous driving.

Saturday, 15th June 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th June 2019, 9:33 pm

Alan Johnston pleaded guilty to the offence at Berwick Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecutor James Long said the 69-year-old, of Spittal, had been seen driving erratically on the southbound carriageway of the A1 at around 3.15pm on January 15.

He was reported to police, who followed him to St George’s Park hospital in Morpeth. Officers spoke to him and he gave a negative breath test, explaining that he had just been tired.

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He was told to rest up, but magistrates heard that about two hours later police received reports of a man driving very slowly in a VW Passat on the northbound A1 near Hebron.

A witness following the vehicle reported it to be weaving from side to side for around five miles, almost hitting an HGV at one point.

The court heard the defendant then drifted into the southbound lane on the single carriagway near Denwick and hit an on-coming vehicle nearly head on, causing substantial damage.

Another vehicle, travelling south, then crashed into the rear of the vehicle struck by the defendant. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.

In mitigation, Ian O’Rourke explained that Johnston had since given up his driving licence and called for a non-custodial sentence.

Magistrates banned Johnston, of Main Street, Spittal, from driving for three years and said he must pass an extended test if he wants to drive again. He was also fined £1,017.