‘It is incredible you were able to drive,’ judge

Ministry of the Attorney General Provincial CourtWhen a conservation officer stopped a man towing a boat, he found the driver to be under the influence of alcohol.

William Collier, 55, appeared in the Ontario Court of Justice in Huntsville Wednesday, Sept. 6 to answer to impaired and operation over 80 charges.

Crown attorney Lyndsay Jeanes explained that Collier’s charges were as a result of a traffic stop conducted by a conservation officer on July 27 at 4:30 p.m. on Greer Road in the Town of Huntsville.

Jeanes said the officer smelled an odour of an alcohol upon approaching the driver and noted that he had glassy eyes.

“It was known to the accused long before today’s date and long before the date he was arrested that he had a drinking problem.” -Crown Attorney Lyndsay Jeanes.

“The accused tried several times to put his truck in park despite it already being in park,” said Jeanes.

When asked to provide proof of insurance, Collier handed the conservation officer a pleasure craft operator card.

The police were called and Collier was subsequently arrested and charged with impaired. He was transported to the Huntsville OPP detachment where breath samples revealed blood alcohol levels of 322 and 309 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

Defence attorney Michael Anne MacDonald explained to the court that Collier had had a disagreement with his girlfriend, but added that he was not using that as an excuse for his actions.

“He immediately recognized he had a significant problem and sought help,” said MacDonald. “He entered into an in-house alcohol treatment program in Toronto and has completed a 28-day program for treatment of alcoholism.”

She said he is attending the second phase of their program two nights a week and attends Alcoholics Anonymous three nights a week, having previously found the program helpful.

MacDonald said what was “astounding” about the case, was that there was “not one iota of evidence of bad driving.” However, Jeanes said it was that fact that was of most concern to her.

“That suggests to the Crown that he is a seasoned alcoholic and can avoid detection from police and can drink and drive without showing any signs,” said Jeanes.

MacDonald called Jeanes’ comments unfair.

“It was known to the accused long before today’s date and long before the date he was arrested that he had a drinking problem,” said Jeanes. “He really only decided to do something about it once he was charged.”

Jeanes said Collier was fortunate he was not facing more serious charges, citing that he put not only himself at risk, but others as well.

Collier called his actions “very foolish.”

“As you know, I have battled with this (alcoholism) over the years,” said Collier. “I’m very glad that no one was hurt.”

Justice Cecile Applegate told Collier it was unfortunate it took this long for him to come to terms and grips with his alcohol issues.

“It seems like this in-house program is exactly the intervention that you needed, but you are still very early in the process,” said Applegate.

Applegate, noting Collier’s reading that was four times the legal limit, said it was incredible that he was able to drive at all.

“You wouldn’t believe the number of cases I see when travelling up to this area where parties are killed or hurt in a car or boat as a result of the operation while consuming alcohol,” said Applegate.

Applegate found Collier guilty of the charges and sentenced him to a $1,950 fine, two-year probation, one-year driving prohibition and that he not buy, consume or possess drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicating substance except with a valid prescription.

Source: MuskokaRegion.com