Car ploughed into Plean house as family slept uptairs

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A small child woke up to his mother’s screams after a car smashed through a hedge at speed and completely demolished part of the family’s house.

Richard Watling (34) hit speeds of up to 80 miles an hour on the narrow road in President Kennedy Drive, Plean, before apparently misjudging a slight bend near the two-storey home.

Falkirk Sheriff Court heard two adults and a child, the occupants of the house were upstairs at the time of the incident.

Prosecutor Ruaraidh Ferguson said: “President Kennedy Drive is a straight road which has a bend in it, and at that bend is a house. Around 11pm the occupiers of that house heard a car, which from the sound of it was travelling extremely fast

“This caused one of their neighbours to look out from her house and she observed the car, which was driven by the accused, go straight through the hedge before striking the house.

“She estimated its speed at 70 or 80 miles an hour, and said it made no attempt to negotiate the corner or brake.

“Another witness reports seeing the vehicle driving very quickly, before hearing ‘an almighty bang’. The people in the house described hearing a ‘massive crash’ before feeling the entire house shake.

“The 10 year old child, who had been asleep, was woken, as he could hear his mother screaming.”

They went downstairs to find a car there, half in the roadway and half in the garden.

Mr Ferguson said it was “immediately clear” the car, a Toyota Rav4 Xt-r D-4d, had struck the sunroom at the south of the property and the south-facing external wall of the living room.

The fiscal added: “That wall was completely destroyed.”

A delivery driver working in the area who was first on the scene found two people in the car – Watling was in the driving seat, drifting in and out of consciousness, and a passenger, Paul Aitken (33), was in the front left hand seat, fully conscious.

Mr Ferguson said: “Both males were freed from the vehicle by the fire service and taken to hospital.”

Mr Aitken had a fractured wrist and finger and had to have surgery during which wires were inserted in his hand.

Watling had fractured his skull in three places.

The house, Hillcrest, President Kennedy Drive, had to be three-quarters rebuilt, at a cost of £240,000. The occupants had to live in rented accommodation while this was done, and the family car, which had been in their driveway and was hit by falling debris, had to be repaired at a costs of £3468.

Watling, of Sandshouse, Kincardine-on-Forth, pled guilty to causing serious injury and damage by dangerous driving in the incident which happend on July 14 last year.

Gordon Addison, defending, said: “He was going too fast on a country road.”

The court heard the costs of the damage had so far been paid by insurers and that Watling had now been prescribed methadone to help him cope with the pain he was in. Falkirk Sheriff Court on Thursday, Sheriff John Mundy, who had earlier warned Watling he could face jail because of the serious nature of the incident, banned him from driving for 27 months, and sentenced him to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.