Driver causes motorway alarm after black out

David Collum was spotted driving dangerously on the M8 by a retired police officer (stock pic)
David Collum was spotted driving dangerously on the M8 by a retired police officer (stock pic)

A Bellshill driver who can fall asleep at any minute caused alarm when he weaved from lane to lane on a busy motorway after blacking out.

David Collum had been referred to a brain specialist just days earlier and knew he shouldn’t have been behind the wheel.

He was also serving a driving ban at the time.

Fortunately, no one was injured as Collum drove 18 miles from Whitburn in West Lothian to Motherwell before police caught up with him.

At Hamilton Sheriff Court on Friday, Collum (29), of Liberty Road, admitted culpable and reckless conduct by driving on the M8 and in Merry Street, Motherwell, on May 20 while knowing he was prone to episodes of losing consciousness. He also admitted driving while disqualified.

The court heard he was seen driving at excess speed, swerving across the motorway lanes and at one point veering on to the grass verge.

Retired police officer Andrew Hackett was driving a minibus of Belgian tourists from Edinburgh Airport when he noticed Collum’s Ford Fiesta being driven in an “erratic” manner.

Callum Forsyth, prosecuting, told the court: “He (Mr Hackett) was so concerned he dialled 999 and provided the police with updates, following the Fiesta to Motherwell. Traffic officers then located it at a car wash in Merry Street.

“Collum said he had been working in Edinburgh and was in Motherwell to pick up his girlfriend.

“Police didn’t form the view that he was in any way intoxicated, but checks revealed he was a disqualified driver and he was arrested.

“Then he told officers he suffered from seizures and might have blacked out while he was driving.

“Further inquiries established that 10 days before this he had been at his GP to complain about blackouts. The GP had referred him to a neurologist.”

Defence agent Vincent McGovern said Collum was examined by a neurologist at Wishaw General in June.

The solicitor added: “The specialist was unable to make a definitive diagnosis, but believed he could have a condition that causes him to fall asleep without warning.

“A subsequent MRI scan returned clear, but there is still no diagnosis. He has been referred to a sleep clinic in Glasgow.”

Sentence on Collum, who has been in custody since his arrest, was deferred until September 26 and he remains behind bars.