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

Berwick-upon-Tweed Magistrates' Court.Berwick-upon-Tweed Magistrates' Court.
Berwick-upon-Tweed Magistrates' Court.
A retired teacher who caused a crash on the A1 near Alnwick has been banned for dangerous driving.

Alan Johnston pleaded guilty to the offence at Berwick Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, June 13.

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

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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.

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 single carriagway near Denwick and hit an on-coming vehicle nearly head on, causing substantial damage.

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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 he had since given up his driving licence and called for a non-custodial sentence.

Magistrates agreed that the case fell into a community banding.

They banned Johnston, of Main Street, Spittal, Berwick, 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 and ordered to pay a surcharge and costs totalling £186.