Drunken soldier traced by groove

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Police had no trouble finding the villain in a hit and run accident.

All they had to do was follow the groove in the road where the driver had carried on after his car lost a wheel in the crash.

It led them to the Army Camp at Weeton where drunken soldier John Dowson had parked.

Dowson, 24, who is based at Weeton Barracks, near Kirkham, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, driving without due care and attention and failing to stop after an accident.

He was banned from the road for 16 months and fined £540 with £85 costs plus £54 victims’ service by Blackpool magistrates.

Presiding magistrate, Eileen Oldroyd, told Dowson: “What happened that night is going to play on your mind for some time.

“It could have been catastrophic. From what we have heard you are a valued member of the armed forces.”

Ian Dacre, prosecuting, said Dowson was driving a Ford Focus on Weeton Road, Singleton, when he lost control and collided with a Citroen travelling in the opposite direction on November 23 at 1.30am.

His Focus was substantially damaged and lost a wheel, but he did not stop.

The prosecutor added: “The police were able to follow his route by the groove his three-wheeled car left in the road.”

A breath test showed 51 micrograms of alcohol in his body - 35 is the limit.

Patrick Nelligan, defending, said Dowson had gone out to buy some cola as a mixer drink.

It was an icy night and after losing control and clipping another car, Dowson’s vehicle span round and lost a wheel.

Dowson, had served in Cyprus and Kenya, plus two tours of Afghanistan.

He had suffered post traumatic stress from his time in Afghanistan and his marriage broke-up just before the offences.

The Army had already punished him by restricting his promotion and would also fine him.