Passerby Kevin Briscoe said he was doing a favour for a client — he’s a self-employed snowplower — around noon Tuesday when he spied the man slumped in his driver’s seat outside the Brewers Retail outlet on Notre Dame.
“There was an older man passed out behind the wheel, eyes closed and head slouched down,” he said. “I could see he was breathing so I didn’t really think it was an emergency health issue. It seemed that he had made it this far, and was passed out drunk.”
Briscoe grabbed his phone to record the scene, including the driver’s licence plate — “just to cover my own tracks that here is what I saw, if this would wind up in court” — and called 911.
He said an ambulance arrived first and paramedics had to “pound on the driver’s door to wake him up.” The man eventually exited the vehicle — a newish SUV — but was unsteady on his feet, doing what Briscoe called “the two-step shuffle.”
Kaitlyn Dunn, spokesperson for Greater Sudbury Police, confirmed police and Emergency Medical Services responded to the situation around 12:15 p.m.
“While dealing with the man, paramedics believed that he may be intoxicated,” she said in an email to The Star. “Officers arrived around 12:30 p.m. and while speaking with the man, there was a strong odour of alcohol on his breath.”
The man failed a breath test administered on site, and a subsequent test carried out at police headquarters confirmed he was over the legal limit, said Dunn.
The 60-year old man from Greater Sudbury has been charged with care and control, over 80 mgs of alcohol, and impaired driving. Police did not release his name.
Briscoe said he’s personally avoided booze for many years and has spoken out at family or social gatherings if it seemed like someone might be inclined to get behind the wheel after imbibing.
He was also the victim of a drinking-related crash 22 years ago, when an impaired driver following him on Highway 535 “pitted” his truck — nudged its back end — causing his vehicle to flip and injuring his back.
Briscoe said he wasn’t trying to vilify the man passed out at the Beer Store or cause humiliation for his family, but he couldn’t ignore the situation, either.
“If I hadn’t called it in, what could have happened with this guy?” he said. “We know the stories of kids being mowed down at bus stops. I’m not down for that stuff.”
In a release issued Monday regarding impaired incidents over the holiday — six drivers were charged in December — Police Chief Paul Pedersen said too many are still getting behind the wheel drunk, despite ongoing education and enforcement campaigns.
And the results, he said, can too often be deadly.
“Every year parents bury their children, spouses lose their significant others and children grow up without their siblings because people make the criminal decision that driving to their next destination is more important than the lives of those who share the roadway,” said Pedersen.
Briscoe said he hopes the man charged Tuesday will get help for his issues and amend his ways.
“I really want to see a decline in drinking and driving,” he said.
Source: The Sudbury Star