Citizen says police supervisor ignored information of suspected impaired driver

Mark G said he witnessed at least one of these individuals drinking alcohol prior to driving. But when he told police he was advised to call 911.

Mark G knows the trouble drunk drivers can cause – his friend’s wife has been hit by impaired drivers four times.

So when he saw two males and one female picking up four six-packs on New Year’s Day just after 4 p.m., his senses were heightened.

“I think drunk drivers are worse than those who carry around loaded guns,” he said. “At least gun carriers can choose when they use it. With drunk drivers it’s not a matter of if, but when.”

His intuition proved accurate when one male, using a Walmart scooter, drove out into the parking lot and placed two six-packs in the trunk, opened a beer and passed the rest to the other occupants in the car.

“He stood up and started drinking,” said the 41-year-old Keswick resident, who did not want his full last name in the paper due to past troubles with police. “Then he passed the open beer inside the passenger window.”

The man promptly drove the scooter back to the store before the car picked him up and began driving in the direction of Glenwoods Avenue.

After taking several photos of the incident, including the vehicle’s licence plate, he immediately headed over to the Tim Hortons in hopes of finding a police officer, which he did.

“I knocked on the window and showed the pictures to the officer and told her what happened,” he said, explaining that he expected her to jump into action to find the potential drunk drivers.

Instead, he said the supervisor was “dismissive” of his concerns and told him to call 911.

“It’s almost like it was too much work,” he added. “I can understand if there are priority calls, but it didn’t appear like she was overly busy.”

After the interaction, Mark said he witnessed the supervisor driving a York Regional Police branded pickup truck to the back of the parking lot to drink her coffee.

Mark, who eventually took his concerns to Twitter, said he was particularly angered because of York police’s repeated requests that people inform them when they see impaired drivers.

“Because alcohol is available at supermarkets now, I thought they wanted residents to inform them,” he added.

In reply, York police said the force will increase monitoring at the parking lot because of the complaint.

“We are sorry that this member of our community feels that they did not receive the service they had hoped from our officers,” wrote Sgt. Andy Pattenden in an email.

“In 2019, York Regional Police responded to 3,500 calls to 9-1-1 from citizens who reported suspected impaired drivers. In this case, the Twitter user was advised that YRP takes impaired driving seriously and if a similar incident happens again they should call 9-1-1, in keeping with our Safe Roads…Your Call program.

“We do appreciate the information the citizen provided, and as a result, members of the community can expect to see increased patrols in the parking lot where the reported drinking had occurred.”

Source: YorkRegion.com