Justice Jane Kelly said Warren Ferns, now 26, consumed three to four alcoholic beverages within a two-hour period before he lost control of his speeding 2004 Mazda 6 on Mount Pleasant Road in the early morning hours of Sept. 5, 2016, resulting in the death of his passenger, 28-year-old Akhil Sankeshwar.
But the judge acquitted Ferns of the more serious charge of impaired driving causing death.
Fern’s calculated Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at the time of the crash was between 70 and 130 mg of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, Kelly said.
“The evidence regarding Mr. Ferns’ ability to drive while impaired is frail and insufficient to satisfy me beyond a reasonable doubt that his ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol,” the judge stated.
“The smell of alcohol on its own means that Ferns had consumed alcohol, but it is not proof that he was impaired at the time of driving.
“Further, bloodshot and glassy eyes as well as droopy eyelids and a red complexion could be a result of being involved in a traumatic collision,” noted Kelly. “Many of the ‘classic signs of impairment’ are absent here.”
Due to his G2 driver’s licence, Ferns was prohibited from having any alcohol when he got behind the wheel with three friends as passengers that night.
Ferns was working as a delivery driver at Marigold Indian Bistro. After his shift ended at 11:30 p.m., he and his pals had dropped into Crocodile Rock bar in the Entertainment District.
His vehicle was headed northbound near Roxborough Dr. shortly before 2:30 a.m. when it swerved, hit a light standard, rotated and crashed, court heard. Ferns was driving at least 76 km/h in a 60 km/h zone.
Sankeshwar had moved here from India three years earlier to study hospitality management at Lambton College. He worked as the night manager at the Courtyard Suites in Markham.
Kelly will sentence Ferns on May 6.
Source: Ottawa Sun