Burlington man gets jail time for second impaired charge in three yearsA Burlington man put himself, other drivers and the three children he was transporting in danger when he got behind the wheel this summer.
James Olmstead, 45, of Burlington pleaded guilty in Huntsville court to impaired operation of a motor vehicle. This was the second time in less than three years Olmstead had been charged with impaired operation and in consideration of that and what the Crown described as “significant aggravating factors,” he received a 60-day jail sentence followed by 18 months of probation and a three-year driving prohibition.
On Aug. 20 of this year, Olmstead was driving his 15-year-old son and his son’s two 15-year-old friends through Bracebridge. His driving was so erratic that someone in the community called the police about it.
Olmstead’s defence attorney, Michael Anne MacDonald, read a report in court that provided details of what was going on in the vehicle at that time.
“Dad was drinking and he was afraid and his friends were afraid in the car.”
– Michael Anne MacDonald
“He continued drinking with the boys in the car thinking they wouldn’t notice, which shows his judgment was impaired,” read MacDonald.
“The son texted the wife telling her what was going on. That dad was drinking and he was afraid and his friends were afraid in the car.”
The wife ended up calling the police and notifying them that her husband was drunk and driving the three boys.
Police ended up pulling Olmstead over at the Highway 11 ramp at Highway 117.
Bryan Guertin, Crown attorney, said Olmstead took a sizable period of time to pull over for the police after the emergency lights were activated.
“Mr. Olmstead’s readings were over three times the legal limit 256 and 249. So not only is that statutorily aggravating, those are extremely dangerous readings,” said Guertin.
Other signs of his extreme intoxication included that when police asked him for his vehicle registration, Olmstead handed over his vehicle owner’s manual instead. When he was asked on a scale of one to 10 how intoxicated he was, Olmstead said four.
“This type of dangerous action and impaired operation of a motor vehicle at levels this high with children in the car simply cannot be tolerated by the community,” said Guertin.
During sentencing, Olmstead’s attorney spent significant time outlining the damage this incident has already done to her client. She said his relationship with his wife, son and the families of the other children in the vehicle has been severely damaged and he lost his job.
She went on to say her client has completely accepted responsibility for the crime and immediately went into treatment.
Olmstead said he hadn’t had a drink since the charges.
“I would just like to apologize to the court,” Olmstead said when given an opportunity to speak. “I take responsibility for my actions. I’m currently trying to improve myself. I go to AA meetings regularly and I’m looking forward to serving my time so I can continue dealing with my recovery and deal with the underlying issues behind the actions I took.”
Before delivering his sentence, Justice John Evans acknowledged the work Olmstead had already put into dealing with his problem but said this was a serious violation that put many people in danger.
“This court is dealing with a situation where you put yourself at risk as well as three teenagers and anyone else who might have been using that highway. I’m sure this is not news to you,” said Evans.