A near-empty bottle of alcohol lies next to keys in front of a blurred-out image of a man holding a half-full glass.An 18-year-old youth who was driving with a high blood-alcohol level when he hit a utility pole has been fined $1,800.

Nicholas Alexandre Palen of Sarnia pleaded guilty in Sarnia court on Tuesday to impaired care or control of a vehicle.

After midnight on Nov. 12, 2016, during a turn on a Sarnia street, Palen struck a hydro pole causing extensive damage to the pole and to the vehicle.

Breath tests showed Palen had a blood-alcohol level double the legal limit.

Palen appreciates that his decision to drive was a poor one and has admitted responsibility from the beginning, said defence lawyer James Guggisberg.

Palen, who had no criminal record, understands the gravity of what happened and what could have happened, said Guggisberg.

“I do really regret it. I will work on making my life better,” said Palen.

Due to the collision and the high blood-alcohol level, a $2,000 fine and a two-year driving ban were sought by assistant Crown attorney Nila Mulpuru.

A $1,000 fine and a one-year driving ban are the minimums for a first offence.

Justice Mark Hornblower imposed the $1,800 fine and a one-year driving ban.

Despite the efforts regarding preventing impaired driving, people in circumstances like Palen’s continue to appear in court, said Hornblower.

Source: The Sarnia Observer