Ipswich drink-driver found in hedge by police dog after leaving scene of Tuddenham crash

Sergeant Julian Ditcham breathalyzes a motorist

Sergeant Julian Ditcham breathalyzes a motorist

A drink-driver was found in a hedge by a police dog after abandoning his company car following a collision with a house, a court heard.

Michael Gowler, of Geneva Road, Ipswich, has now lost his job with an estate agent as a result of his actions and has been disqualified from driving for 18 months.

The 25-year-old pleaded guilty before the town’s magistrates to driving with excess alcohol and failing to stop after an accident.

Prosecutor Colette Harper said police were called at 11.45pm on November 11 to The Street, Tuddenham St Martin, where there had been a single-vehicle accident at the junction with Westerfield Lane.

The Audi A1 has sustained substantial damage to the front of the vehicle and was touching the front end gable of the house. There was also some damage to the side of the Audi.

The keys were in the footwell and the passengers from the car were nearby.

They said the driver was Gowler who had fled the scene.

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The court heard around 10 minutes later two police dog units arrived and began a search for Gowler. The police helicopter was also called in.

The dogs found a strong scent and Gowler was discovered in hedgerow at Fynn Valley Golf Club.

He was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.

A subsequent breath test showed Gowler had 60 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

Lyndon Davies, mitigating, said Gowler accepted he had been very foolish in his actions that led to the crash and after it.

The court was told Gowler had been driving too fast on a bend and had two passengers in his car at the time.

He made sure they were ok before leaving the scene. Both sustained minor injuries.

Mr Davies said: “He’s then panicked and run off. He accepts he has caused inconvenience to the police, perhaps belatedly in his interview he has put his hands up and made full admissions.”

Magistrates were told Gowler had lost his job at Hamilton Smith as a result of his actions, but has now found other employment.

Mr Davies added Gowler had sought help for a binge-drinking issue.

In addition to his ban Gowler was fined £600 and ordered to pay costs of £85 as well as £30 to the victims’ fund.