Trail police nab 4 impaired drivers over long weekend

Police do not have to suspect that a driver is impaired before they stop a vehicle.

Photo: Penticton Western News/File

Photo: Penticton Western News/File

The latest media brief from the Trail RCMP reveals that over Easter long weekend, there was an uptick in drivers caught behind the steering wheel, three sheets to the wind.

The first complaint, from Sunningdale, came into the Trail detachment in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 16. The caller reported a pick up truck had backed into a ditch and became stuck in the 1000-block of Marianna Crescent. Police located the truck and driver, a 34-year-old Trail woman, at the scene. The officer reported he detected an odour of liquor emanating from the woman, and began a roadside impaired driving investigation. Police say her breath sample resulted in a fail. The woman was issued a 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) and her vehicle is impounded for up to 30 days.

The second case stems from a report called in from Rossland the afternoon of Saturday, April 16. An officer responded to the complaint of an unconscious woman seen inside a car located in the 2000-block of Second Avenue, Rossland. First responders from Kootenay Boundary fire rescue and B.C. ambulance discovered the woman passed out in the driver seat of the parked, running vehicle. Upon arrival, the officer began a roadside impaired driving investigation as he suspected the driver was under the influence of a drug. A demand was read to the woman, a 44-year old from Hamilton, ON. Police say she failed the standard field sobriety test. She was issued a 12-hour IRP.

Then, Easter Sunday, just before 11 a.m., frontline RCMP officers responded to a report of a woman crashing her Jeep into bushes in the 1600 block of Marcolin Drive, near the Trail mall. The driver, a 47-year old Trail woman, was taken by ambulance to the hospital for medical treatment. An immediate crash scene investigation led the RCMP to suspect that impairment by a drug may have been a factor. After the woman was admitted to hospital an attending officer read a demand, and a blood sample was drawn by a qualified medical practitioner.

The woman was issued a 24-hour IRP. Trail RCMP say they will be forwarding a report to Crown counsel, recommending approval of criminal charges.

The fourth reported case occurred Easter Monday at dinnertime. An officer was on a routine patrol when he detained a BMW for travelling faster than the posted speed limit on Highway 22, near Genelle. The officer detected an alleged odour of smoked cannabis emanating from the driver, 47-year-old Calgary man. Police report that the driver failed a standard field sobriety test. The man was issued a 24-hour IRP and his vehicle was impounded for seven days.

“Trail RCMP will continue to prioritize the safety of our streets by taking impaired drivers off the road,” says Sgt. Mike Wicentowich.

To report instances of impaired driving call 9-1-1 or the Trail detachment at 250.364.2566.

Roadside tests for impairment

Police do not have to suspect that a driver is impaired before they stop a vehicle. In fact, police have the legal right to conduct random spot checks for impaired drivers. Although a driver is not required to respond to questions by the police, failing to do so may lead the police to suspect the driver has consumed alcohol or drugs, and will likely require the driver to undergo a roadside test or provide a roadside sample.

Three roadside tests are:

Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST), for alcohol or drug impairment;

Breath test for impairment due to alcohol, and;

Oral fluid (saliva) test for impairment due to drugs.

Regarding the SFST, police may ask the driver to get out of his/her car to perform the test. A SFST allows police officers to examine the eyes of drivers, as well as to put drivers through a series of physical tests, including having them walk in a straight line, stand and turn, or stand on one leg.

Read more: RCMP Briefs

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