A DAD said he panicked when his son became unwell during a trip home from the seaside, resulting in him making “highly dangerous” overtakes on winding Powys roads.

Mark Antony McCarthy’s manner of driving was described as “prolonged, persistent and deliberate”, with dashcam footage played in court clearly showing the dangerous nature of his driving.

This included the 38-year-old father-of-three recklessly overtaking on double white lines, on the brow of a hill and narrowly avoiding oncoming traffic as he drove his BMW X5 on the A458 near Llanerfyl on May 29 last year.

McCarthy said he was “shocked” by the footage but told Welshpool Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, April 2, that he believed he had driven in that manner “for the right reasons”, as his son had become violently unwell on the trip home.

McCarthy admitted one charge of dangerous driving at last week’s hearing.

Prosecutor Helen Tench said the incident occurred at around 7.30pm on May 29, 2023, as McCarthy was exiting Llanerfyl and heading towards Llanfair Caereinion.

“Dashcam footage shows the defendant overtaking leaving the village of Llanerfyl on double white lines,” said Mrs Tench, who played the alarming footage in court.

“Despite several attempts to engage the defendant in interview, no response was received by the police. He has not been interviewed.”


Mrs Tench described the category of driving as A2, saying: “There are three clear points where he overtakes; there are several overtakes with oncoming traffic approaching.

“It was prolonged, persistent and deliberate. They were highly dangerous manoeuvres.”

Representing himself, McCarthy, of Glenmead Road, Birmingham, admitted he became “flustered” when his young son became unwell.

“I was on a family holiday with my partner and three children, to Barmouth,” he said.

“We’d been on the beach. When it came time to go home and I was driving back, my son became unwell.

“My partner was panicking, as he’s asthmatic. I’d never driven on these roads. I was getting flustered, my son was shaking and trying to be sick.

“I took the decision to overtake, I thought it was the right decision. I now know it wasn’t."

He added that his son's condition turned out to be "really bad" sunstroke.

McCarthy added: “I know what I’ve done is wrong, I was acting in what I thought was an emergency.

“I am shocked by the footage. Looking back, I wonder what else I would have done. In the moment I didn’t know what to do.”

County Times:

McCarthy said he was worried about a driving ban as he owns a plastering company and has several people who work for him. “I’m the sole bread winner in the family, my partner doesn’t work. If I’m banned I fear I’ll lose everything,” he said.

Probation officer Carl Atkinson interviewed McCarthy as part of a pre-sentence report and reiterated that the defendant felt overtaking was his only option.

“He was not thinking straight,” said Mr Atkinson.

“He has shown genuine remorse.”

Sarah Sargent, chair of the bench, told McCarthy: “You showed a total disregard of the road markings, and this was prolonged and highly dangerous. But you have shown remorse.”

He was given an obligatory 12-month driving ban and was told he will need to take an extended re-test.

He also received a 12-month community order, and must pay a £114 surcharge and £85 costs.