A CO Down man has been remanded in custody after he drove a stolen car head long into a vehicle being driven by a woman he was due to meet on their first date.
A judge told Trevor Woodside (33) that he faced a “substantial custodial sentence’’ when he appears back in court in two weeks time to hear how long he will spend in jail.
Woodside, of Castleview, Killyleagh, had pleaded guilty to a total of four charges at Downpatrick Court of causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, driving with excess alcohol and having no insurance.
Sam Magee, prosecuting, told the court that the accident happened on March 30, 2014 when Woodside was due to meet the woman in Downpatrick for “their first date’’.
He said the defendant had taken a Mercedes car belonging to his employer without his permission and had been drinking earlier in the day.
The court heard the woman was travelling from Newry to Downpatrick for their first date and while en route she received a number of text messages from Woodside asking about her location.
She asked him had he been drinking and he replied ‘No’, Judge Piers Grant was told.
Mr Magee said the woman was driving along the Ballydougan Road outside Downpatrick in her Volkswagen Golf car travelling at a speed of 45mph in a 60mph zone.
“As she approached the junction with the Drumcullen Road near Downpatrick race course, suddenly a black Mercedes car came at her at speed after having crossed on to her side of the road.
“One witness described that the black Mercedes had passed their vehicle ‘like a rocket’.
“The woman swerved in an attempt to avoid a collison, but to no avail.’’
Following the head-on collision, the court heard, the Volkswagen Golf careered down a bank and into trees. The force of the impact had dislodged the engine of Golf car onto the road.
Witnesses said that after impact the Mercedes car “spun around before coming to rest in the grass verge’’.
“The driver of the vehicle was Trevor Woodside and the female driver of the Volkswagen had been on her way to meet him. He was conscious and was complaining of a back injury. He had been drinking and he had no licence,’’ said Mr Magee.
“The driver of the Volkswagen Golf was knocked unconscious. She was freed from the vehicle and taken to hospital. She underwent open surgery to address her right foot and had a plate inserted. She also sustained an injury to her chest and had a drain inserted into her chest.’
“She had skin grafts to her foot and further surgery will be required to her foot. She spent two weeks in hospital.’’
Woodside was arrested and cautioned while being treated in hospital. Five hours after the accident Woodside was tested and found to have 154 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of his blood. “He was twice the legal limit at this time,’’ the prosecutor told Judge Grant.
The court heard that officers from the PSNI’s Collision Investigtion Unit examined CCTV from Market Street, Downpatrick and identified the black Mercedes travelling on the wrong side of the road out of Downpatrick at speeds between 47-53mph in a 30mph zone.
Mr Magee said experts “could not determine’’ the precise speed of the Mercedes car on impact with the Volkswagen Golf.
“They say it was probable to suggest that the momentum of the Mercedes car was greater than that of the Volkswagen on impact.’’
The court also heard that when the car examined, the speedometer of the Mercedes car was stuck at a speed of between 75-80 mph
During his police interview in hospital, Woodside accepted he was the driver of the car and admitted he had been drinking.
Judge Grant heard that Woodside told police that he was heading to Castlewellan and as he drove round the corner of the Ballydougan Road “someone else was there’’, adding “it was a moment of madness’’.
He said he had “no recollection of the events and couldn’t remember anything until he woke up in hospital’’.
Mr Magee told the court Woodside “expressed his sorrow’’ for what happened and said he “could have killed himself and somebody else’’ that evening.
The prosecution lawyer outlined a number of aggravating factors in the case, stating “serious injury had been caused to the victim, the defendant was driving at speed and had consumed a substantial quantity of alcohol’’. along with the trauma the victim had suffered as well as witnesses to the crash.
With the consent of the prosecution and defence counsel Eugene Grant QC, Judge Piers Grant said he wanted a Victim Impact Report on the injured woman to be compiled before he passed sentence.
Refusing a defence application for Woodside to be released on continuing bail until sentence is passed on May 11, Judge Grant said: “I have heard all the relevant information. It is inevitable that a substantial custodial sentence must be imposed in this case.’’
Woodside’s family sobbed in the public gallery as he was led away in handcuffs by prison guards.