A GOUROCK man has been charged with causing the deaths of three local men by dangerous driving at speeds of up to 129mph.

Lee Docherty is accused of killing David Paton, Manveer Benning and Mark Downie, who were all travelling in an Audi Q7 that he is said to have been behind the wheel of whilst intoxicated on a drug.

Docherty's arrest comes more than ten months after a fatal crash on the M8 motorway near Langbank.

The 36-year-old appeared at Paisley Sheriff Court yesterday afternoon for a private hearing on petition, during which he made no plea to the allegation through lawyer Ellen Macdonald.

Greenock man Mr Paton and Mr Benning, of Inverkip, both aged 27, and former Greenock Juniors footballer Mr Downie, 31, were killed in a 5am crash on September 19 last year.

It is alleged that Docherty, who has been remanded in custody, was driving the vehicle whilst under the influence of Temazepam and that he 'grossly exceeded' the 70mph speed limit.

Prosecutors say the Q7 — which has a seating capacity of seven — was overloaded with eight occupants, six of whom are said to have not been wearing seatbelts.

A charge against Docherty alleges that he lost control of the car and drove it onto the hard shoulder of the motorway where it is said to have struck a kerb, mounted a grass verge and left the road.

The Crown says the Q7 'struck a number of trees and bushes and a drainage ditch' before rolling over onto its roof.

It is alleged that the impact of the crash ejected Mr Downie, Mr Paton and Mr Benning from the vehicle 'causing them to be so severely injured that they died'.

Four other named passengers are said to have been injured in the crash.
Prosecutors say that Docherty, of Dunvegan Avenue in Gourock, was on sheriff court bail regarding another criminal matter at the time.

It is alleged that he had 1,006 microgrammes of Temazepam per litre of blood following the crash. The permitted limit is 1,000 microgrammes per litre of blood.

The westbound carriageway was closed for more than 12 hours and screens were put in place to shield the crash scene from view.

A full fleet of 999 vehicles immediately rushed to the scene, as well as the Police Scotland helicopter.

Inspector Darren Cook, of Police Scotland's Road Policing Unit, said at the time: "Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of those who have lost their lives as a result of this crash."

Docherty's case was yesterday continued for further examination by Sheriff David Pender, who remanded him in custody.

The matters are due to call again next week.