A vehicle recovery worker died while trying to retrieve the works van of a drink-driver, the Evening Express can reveal.
At Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday Scott Chapman admitted being almost three-times the legal limit when he crashed into a ditch on the B999, near Pitmedden, on October 27.
The 22-year-old initially told police that the van had been stolen and that he chased after it clinging to its rear as it drove.
However, he later came clean to officers after saying “flashbacks” had led him to believe he was in fact driving it.
Robert Garvock, of Longside, died while trying to drag the van from the ditch after a truck toppled on top of him.
The 68-year-old, who worked for Ellon-based tyre and recovery firm Kairdson Group, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Yesterday depute-fiscal Lynzi Souter told the court: “At 2.15am the accused phoned 999 stating he’d been out for a drink and saw someone driving his work van in Pitmedden.
“He stated he’d chased the vehicle and hung on to the back of it before it crashed into a field and he was now lost.”
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Chapman told police he “ran after it, clinging on to the back of it for a number of miles”, but officers “strongly suspected” he had been driving.
Officers found Chapman by the side of the road around three miles south of Pitmedden at 2.30am.
She said Chapman was “smelling strongly of alcohol and could not come up with a coherent explanation as to what happened”.
He failed a roadside breath test.
Mrs Souter said he also spoke to his boss on the phone at around 5.45am and gave him the same story.
Police visited Chapman at 2pm the same day once he had sobered up but he said he “did not remember what happened”.
The following day Chapman walked into Ellon police station and said: “It was actually me that was driving the motor when it crashed. I was drunk.
“I’ve been having flashbacks since and thought it best I come in.”
He admitted driving with 65 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 22 microgrammes.
He also admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Defence agent Neil McRobert said his client accepted he had been drinking at the time, adding: “He tells me that he had no intention and no reason to drive and he can’t explain why he made the decision to drive.”
Chapman, who worked as an electrician, has now lost his job. Sheriff Ian Wallace disqualified Chapman, of Breckview, Pitmedden, from driving for 14 months and fined him £500.
He also ordered him to carry out 50 hours of unpaid work within three months in relation to attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The sheriff said Chapman’s initial excuse had been an “unlikely tale” adding “it’s a serious matter to lie to the police in the way you did”.
Chapman declined to comment at his home last night.
In a statement, Mr Garvock’s family previously said: “Robert was well-respected by his colleagues and loved by his family.”
A spokesman for his employer added: “Robert died tragically, doing the job he loved.
“He was reliable, diligent and always willing to help in any way he could.
“Nothing was ever a problem for him.
“He was very well known in the Aberdeenshire area and many of our customers, suppliers and ex-colleagues have been in touch with us to say how sorry they are to hear of his passing.”