Drunk stock car racer who killed Royal Navy veteran in crash jailed

A young boy and a baby also travelling in the car with John King were hurt following the collision in 2020.

Stock car racer Marc Fortune who killed veteran John King in A92 crash in Fife jailed Police Scotland

A stock car racer who killed a Royal Navy veteran after drinking has been jailed for six years.

Marc Fortune, 28, was behind the wheel of his 4×4 pick up when he ploughed into the back of a Vauxhall Meriva driven by John King.

The 63-year-old’s car was forced off the road and ended up spinning down an embankment on the A92 near Cowdenbeath in Fife.

Mr King – who had served in the Royal Navy for 25 years – didn’t survive the crash on September 12, 2020.

A young boy and a baby in the motor were also hurt, but luckily survived.

Fortune – who had earlier been spotted swigging vodka at a stock car meeting – fled the scene, later telling a friend: “My mum is going to kill me.”

On Wednesday, a judge paid tribute to the “incredible fortitude” of the boy, who managed to alert the emergency services despite his injuries.

First offender Fortune was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow having earlier admitted to a charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

Lord Matthews cut the term from eight years due to the guilty plea.

Fortune was also banned from the road for ten years.

Prosecutor Richard Goddard KC earlier told how Fortune was involved in racing stock cars mainly at a track in Lochgelly, Fife.

He had been there on the night of the incident as a spectator.

Mr Goddard said: “He was seen to take a full sized bottle of vodka from the passenger seat of his Mitsubishi Barbarian L200.

“He was seen to pinch his nose and drink ‘a good few mouthfuls’.”

Despite this, he later drove off in his 4×4 and headed on the A92.

Mr King in the meantime was on the same road on the way to collect a relative from work.

One child was in the front passenger seat with the younger chilld in a baby seat in the back.

Mr King was in the inside lane when he was suddenly struck at the back by Fortune’s vehicle.

This caused the Vauxhall to spin, hit a barrier and then hurtle through the air before rolling down an embankment.

Mr Goddard said: “The offside doors burst open and the roof as well as the rear of the vehicle were severely damaged.”

It was estimated Fortune had been travelling “at a speed in excess” of the 70mph Mr King was said to be going at.

Fortune carried on for half a mile before locking and abandoning his 4×4.

He called a friend to drive him later stating to him: “My mum is going to kill me – I just hit it. They locked up the brakes and I just hit it.”

The court heard that the older boy managed to clamber out of the wrecked Vauxhall.

Mr Goddard said: “With remarkable courage and presence of mind, he dialled 999.

“He was highly distressed, but able to remain on the phone and describe the road he had travelled to allow the emergency services to locate him.

“He was able to describe the condition of (Mr King) and the other child.

“Towards the end of the call, he approached the road and used his mobile phone torch to successfully guide police.”

Mr King, of Ballingry, Fife, was found still in the car, but unresponsive. The baby was upside down in his baby seat.

Attempts were made to save Mr King, but he never recovered from head, neck and chest injuries.

Both children suffered cuts and remained in hospital overnight.

Police found Fortune’s 4×4 and he was traced to his father’s home in Kirknewton, Midlothian the next morning.

He had to be woken from his bed and still appeared under the influence of alcohol.

He claimed to have left the Mitsubishi parked at the racetrack and that his cousin had given him a lift home.

They later returned and Fortune was breathalysed. He was found to have 75mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 22mg.

Fortune stated he had drank three vodka and cokes before officers had come back.

The court heard Mr King is survived by his wife of 34 years as well as five brothers, two stepchildren and five grandchildren.

It was also stated the boy in the crash remains badly affected, but that there have been “small improvements” in him.

Sentencing, Lord Matthews said Mr King was a “soul mate” and much loved to the relatives affected by his loss.

Paying tribute to the boy getting help, the judge told Fortune: “This is all the more remarkable given his understandable state of hysteria. He is a credit (to those who know him).”

In a statement released after the hearing, Mr King’s family said: “Fortune has not shown a shred of remorse or accountability for his actions.

“He was drinking, fled the scene and speeding.

“He killed John and injured two children. Our whole family were left devastated.

“We are really disappointed by the sentence because to us anything less than ten years feels unjust.”

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