Sarnia courthouse

Sarnia courthouse

A young Sarnia man who took over driving from a friend he considered too drunk to drive was fined $1,200 for impaired driving.

Clayton David Ball, 21, pleaded guilty Friday in Sarnia court to impaired driving and subsequently violating an alcohol ban.

On July 29, 2016 at 7:15 a.m. an OPP officer spotted a speeding vehicle on Highway 402 that was weaving within its lane.

The estimated vehicle speed was 130 kilometres per hour in a 100-km zone.

The officer stopped the vehicle and Ball was the driver.

Ball told the officer he was driving his drunk friend home but he said was fine to drive.

Ball smelled strongly of alcohol and his speech was slurred.

Breath tests showed Ball’s blood-alcohol level was one-and-three-quarters times the legal limit.

Ball was released from custody under an alcohol ban.

On Oct. 15, 2016 at approximately 5 a.m. Ball had approached police officers investigating a disturbance on a city street.

Ball, who was unsteady and smelled of alcohol, had asked officers why they were on the street.

Ball told the officers he was on his way to kick up a friend at a bar.

As these facts were presented to the court Ball was shaking his head.

When asked by Justice Paul Kowalyshyn if the head shaking was a rejection of the facts Ball explained it was in recognition of the fact he had been an idiot that night.

Prior to the July 29 impaired driving Ball had left a bar and gotten into the passenger side of the vehicle and went to sleep.

When Ball awoke the vehicle was on the shoulder headed towards a hydro pole.

At that point Ball took over the driving, said defence lawyer Nick Cake.

Replacing one drunk driver with another is no option the right option was to stop and call somebody, said Kowalyshyn.

Ball is remorseful and at the courthouse he apologized to the arresting officer who is the father of a friend, said Cake in support of the minimum $1,000 fine.

A higher fine was warranted based on the driving, said assistant Crown attorney Konrad de Koning.

There were a lot if negatives related to the impaired driving like speeding, having a passenger in the vehicle and a blood-alcohol level that was almost twice the legal limit, said Kowalyshyn as he imposed a $1,200 fine.

On the alcohol-ban violation Ball had gone back on his word to abide by release conditions when his word needs to mean something, said Kowalyshyn as he imposed the $250 fine recommended by Crown and defence lawyers.

The financial penalty was increased to $1,885 due to victim surcharges.

A one-year driving van was also imposed.

Source: The Sarnia Observer