A SHEPHERD from Luss has been banned from driving after he admitted leaving a cyclist badly injured by knocking him off his bike on the A82.

Andrew Whittaker needed emergency surgery for a back injury after a Toyota Hilux pickup, with James Campbell at the wheel, ploughed into him between Balloch and Dumbarton.

Campbell, 28, pleaded guilty to a charge of causing severe injury and permanent impairment by dangerous driving when he appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week.

Campbell, of Glen Luss, admitted failing to keep a proper lookout, causing the vehicle to collide with Mr Whittaker and knocking him off his bike.

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Fiscal depute Kenny Grieve told a hearing on October 22 that the accident had happened at around 6.50pm on March 23, 2017 – but that almost two years had passed before Campbell’s first appearance in court because of a difficulty getting information from the consultant who treated Mr Whittaker for his injuries.

Mr Grieve said a witness driving on the same stretch of road – the southbound A82 between the Stoneymollan and Lomondgate roundabouts – had been in the outside lane and had noticed the Hilux on the inside lane with a cyclist directly in front of it.

Mr Grieve said: “The witness saw Mr Whittaker on his bike about 300 yards ahead, and immediately slowed to 50-55mph to allow the accused’s vehicle to pull out safely in front of Mr Whittaker.

“The witness held his vehicle back, leaving the accused plenty of time and distance to move out, but the accused failed to do so.

“The accused’s vehicle was seen to strike Mr Whittaker’s bike almost dead centre; Mr Whittaker was thrown on to the roadway ahead of the accused’s vehicle.

“He was seen to be bleeding from a head injury and complaining of back pain. He was clearly badly injured.”

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Mr Whittaker was taken first to the RAH in Paisley and then to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for emergency surgery; he was eventually discharged from hospital on April 4 following treatment.

Mr Grieve added: “The surgery appears to have been successful. Mr Whittaker still has some pain in his lower back; he returned to work in November 2017, but was only able to undertake light duties.”

Campbell originally faced a charge of endangering Mr Whittaker’s life and causing him permanent disfgurement as a result of his actions, but the Crown accepted a plea of guilty to the slightly less serious charge.

Quizzed by Sheriff Maxwell Hendry, Mr Grieve said that according to the police’s report of the incident, Mr Whittaker was “correctly clothed” at the time of the accident.

Campbell’s solicitor produced photographs which he said indicated that his client had taken some action to try to avoid a collision, even if it was “at the last millisecond”.

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The lawyer added: “My client’s position is that he was aware the cyclist was there; whether that’s good or bad for him is for your Lordship to decide. But no matter what the cyclist had done, my client should not have hit him.”

Campbell, the court heard, would lose his job as a result of being banned from driving.

Sheriff Hendry told Campbell: “I’m sure you must be aware that You have tendered a plea to a very serious charge.

“I want to know as much as possible about you before I select an appropriate penalty.”

Sentence was deferred until November 13 for background reports; Campbell’s bail was continued and an interim driving ban imposed.

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