Blind justice statue next to a gavel
Striking a stopped transport on a bridge under reconstruction north of Chelmsford while drunk has cost a Huntsville man $2,300 and a one-year licence suspension.

“You have a future and lucky for you, you still have one,” Ontario Court Justice Karen Lische told Zachary Jackson on Tuesday, as she issued a $1,300 fine and restitution order of $1,000, along with the licence suspension.

“Lucky for you, those who shared the roadway on that day still have a future. It could have been a very different result for you. Drinking and driving still is a plague for our society. You are about to find out when you are convicted of over 80, as you are, that your life is seriously impacted, even though there were no injuries, no one lost their life.”

Jackson, 22, pleaded guilty having more than the legal allowable level of alcohol in his system while driving (over 80) concerning the Oct. 14 incident on Highway 144.

As a result of the plea, the Crown dropped charges of impaired driving and dangerous driving.

The court heard that a Tru-Nor Truck Centre driver was driving a transport toward a bridge on Highway 144 north of Chelmsford that was down to one lane and had temporary traffic lights in place due to the reconstruction, just before 1 a.m. Oct. 13.

As the driver was proceeding toward the bridge, the light changed to yellow, but the driver felt he had no choice but to proceed. The driver of a blue pickup truck, meanwhile, was approaching the bridge area from the opposite direction and began to go toward it.

The transport driver saw the approaching pickup truck and came to a stop on the bridge. The pickup truck driver, however, continued, striking the transport, causing considerable damage to the pickup truck’s front end and some damage to the front of the transport.

Sudbury Ontario Provincial Police officers who responded to the motor vehicle collision talked to witnesses at the scene who had concerns the pickup truck driver had been drinking.

Officers noticed several signs of alcohol consumption with the pickup truck driver – Jackson – including an odour of alcohol on his breath, swaying when standing and answering questions slowly.

Jackson failed a roadside breath test and later produced Intoxilyzer readings of 140 and 150, both readings nearly double the legal allowable level of 80 while driving.

Jackson, who had no prior record, did not address the court.

Defence lawyer Glenn Sandberg said Jackson, who is in an apprenticeship program, was at a pub the night before when he was told to get out of the bar by some other patrons.

“He was escorted outside by others,” said the lawyer. “Get out of Dodge: here’s your keys!’ He felt intimidated. (But) this is not about someone who began the evening and ‘damn the consequences.'”

Sandberg asked for a fine in the range of $1,200-$1,500, a one-year licence suspension and restitution of $1,000 to be paid to Tru-Nor Truck Centre for damage to the transport.

“But for the restitution order, the Crown would have asked for the upper end of the range: $1,500,” said assistant Crown attorney Richard Huneault. “There was a collision and Mr. Jackson was significantly impaired that night.”

Source: The Sudbury Star