Feeling lonely and isolated following recent events in the village, Ethan texts his former flames Theresa and Liberty while he's behind the wheel. However, there's horror on the way as Ethan's attention is turned away from the road and he accidentally knocks down new fresher Rob Edwards (David Atkins).
Shocked by what he's done, Ethan makes another dreadful decision as he drives away from the scene - leaving viewers to wonder whether an unconscious Rob will live or die.
Here, actor Craig Vye - who plays Ethan - chats to Digital Spy about the dramatic events in store.
What leads up to this car accident involving Ethan and Rob?
"Well, before the accident, Ethan has been away from the village for a short period of time. Due to the developments in the murder case and it becoming clear that Silas was the killer, Ethan has been away from the village to escape the heat of the situation.
"Ethan feels partly responsible for not having caught Silas, and he's been scapegoated as one of the main reasons that Silas was able to carry on killing for as long as he did. So this accident takes place just after Ethan has returned to the village. At this point, he's feeling quite isolated from everybody in the village and he's really at a low ebb."
How does the accident happen?
"Ethan is trying to re-adjust and settle back into life in the village, and in a moment of solitude, he makes the stupid decision to text Theresa as he's starting to drive off in his car. This is due to the low and depressed state that he's in. He's asking Theresa whether he can see her, and he also sends the same message to Liberty.
"As he's so engrossed with what he's doing on his phone, Ethan isn't paying attention to the road. He turns a corner at some speed and crashes into Rob, who's left in a very bad state."
Is Ethan just looking for friendship when he texts the girls, or is he hoping he could win one of them back?
"I think, in the back of Ethan's mind, he's always considering that he could possibly win one of them back. Ethan can be quite manipulative at times and he hasn't behaved particularly well when it comes to his love life at all! I think he's trying to worm his way back into their affections. Ethan feels like he needs someone in his life, and as we all know, he likes both girls!"
What does Ethan do when he realises that he's knocked someone down?
"Ethan abandons the scene. After the crash, he does stop his car and it's a shock when he sees that he's hit somebody. He doesn't necessarily know who it is at this point, but he can see somebody lying on the floor in a very bad way. Ethan gets out of the car in a panic-stricken state and he can't quite believe what's happened.
"As Ethan is a detective, he realises very quickly that the first thing the police would do is check his phone records if he reported this, to make sure that he wasn't on the phone or texting. So that's one reason for his decision. It's also because he's already feeling quite isolated, depressed and alone in the world.
"So, in the end, Ethan makes an extremely poor decision - he gets back in his car and drives away. This all happens in a matter of seconds and he's in a state of deep shock."
What happens when Ethan confides in Theresa about what's happened?
"Theresa is very, very shocked. She's the first person who Ethan thinks of confiding in, because he cares a lot about her and he thinks that she might still care about him too. Ethan also knows that Theresa has been in a similar position herself, because she killed Calvin and will be able to understand his predicament. Theresa is shocked by what's happened, but she's determined to help Ethan in any way she can."
Hollyoaks has worked with the road safety charity Brake on this storyline. Are you hoping it can make a positive impact?
"Yeah, I think that's what we're all really, really hoping for - because it is an important issue. I think a lot of people would probably confess that they use their phones in the car, even though it's illegal. People may think they can get away with it, and think that an accident won't happen to them.
"Brake have a Road Safety Week from November 21, which is the week after these episodes air, so it ties in very nicely with this storyline. So we're trying to team up with them, do something positive and get the message out to younger people that texting while driving means that your eyes are off the road 400% more than they normally would be, and you're 23 times more likely to crash. Those are quite frightening statistics and they show the reality of the situation."
After the troubles with Silas and now this incident, do you think Ethan would ever reconsider his future in the police force, or will he be determined to redeem himself?
"Well, this is something that's really important to him. The hit and run storyline is something that will seriously affect Ethan and how he perceives himself in this career. It throws up a lot of questions for him. But I think, ultimately, Ethan is 100% in love with and devoted to the job of being a detective. I think that realisation comes upon him and adds a lot of gravity to the situation."
You've been at Hollyoaks for nearly a year now. Are you enjoying your time on the show?
"I'm absolutely loving it! It's just the best job that you could ever ask to have, really. Everybody involved in the show is so lovely - the cast, the staff and the production. It's like a real family. I know a lot of people in soap say that, but I think there's a real camaraderie among the actors here - especially as most of us are a similar age and have a similar mindset.
"We're all young, ambitious actors and so we all pull together. We also have a lot of fun - Hollyoaks is certainly the most fun that I've had in any acting job, bar none!"
> What does Craig think about Ethan's three-timing and the detective's battles with Warren and Brendan? Head to Soap Scoop and find out in the second part of this interview.