Impaired Driving and Northwestern Ontario – A dance that needs to stop

Impaired Driving numbers are up in Thunder Bay. What should be done?

Police Charge Five Thunder Bay Drivers with Impaired in 24-Hour Time Frame

THUNDER BAY – It sometimes, in Northwestern Ontario is like some people have been trapped in a time warp when it comes to impaired driving. Over the past five months, there have been many people charged with impaired driving. In Red Lake, the OPP has been very busy dealing with a number of drivers, including a driver on a lawnmower who was charged with impaired driving. The same holds true in Thunder Bay, and in Fort Frances.

Over the weekend, in Thunder Bay, over a twenty-four-hour period, police charged five drivers with impaired driving.

From the files of the Thunder Bay Police Service

The first incident occurred after 1:30 am EDT on Sunday, July 26 when police observed a white SUV traveling northbound on Memorial Avenue near First Avenue. Officers noticed the vehicle drifting within the lane it was being driven in.

Police conducted a traffic stop and, while speaking to the driver, noticed multiple signs of impairment by a drug. A Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) was conducted, the results of which led officers to suspect the driver were impaired by drug.

The 27-year-old Toronto man was found to be in possession of paraphernalia consistent with cannabis use and pills suspected to be oxycodone.

He was charged with Driving While Impaired by Drugs and Possession of a Schedule 1 Substance.

The second incident occurred just after 9:30 am EDT on Sunday, July 26, on Dufferin Street where police observed a vehicle being driven by a suspected suspended driver.

Police conducted a traffic stop and confirmed the male driver was operating the vehicle on a suspended license. When officers spoke to the driver they noticed multiple signs of impairment.

A roadside SFST was conducted, the results of which led officers to suspect the driver was impaired by drug. The 34-year-old Thunder Bay man was subsequently arrested and charged with Driving While Impaired by Drugs. It was the accused’s second charge for impaired driving in 2020.

A third incident occurred just before 11:20 am EDT on Sunday, July 26 in the area of Cumberland Street North near the Current River Park. At that time a Traffic Unit officer was conducting focused speed enforcement when they observed a sedan being driven at least 23 km/h above the posted speed limit of 50 km/h.

A traffic stop was conducted and, while speaking to the driver, the officer noticed multiple signs of impairment.

A roadside breath test was conducted, which confirmed the driver was impaired by alcohol. The 26-year-old Thunder Bay man was subsequently charged with Driving While Impaired by Alcohol.

A fourth incident occurred just after 6 pm EDT on Sunday, July 26. Police received reports of two motor-vehicle collisions – one in the 600 block of Waterloo Street South and another at Kingsway Avenue and Christina Street East.

Police learned the same pickup truck was involved in both collisions. An investigation led police to a residential address in the 200 block of Christina Street East where they located the driver.

Further investigation revealed the 45-year-old Thunder Bay man’s blood alcohol concentration was more than three times the legal limit. He was charged with Driving While Impaired by Alcohol.

The fifth incident occurred after 2 am EDT on Monday, July 27 in the area of Valley Street near Highway 11-17. During that time officers on patrol observed a motorist struggling to keep their vehicle in their lane.

Police conducted a traffic stop and, after speaking with the driver, noticed signs of impairment. The driver then failed a roadside breath test. Further investigation revealed the 29-year-old Thunder Bay man had a blood alcohol concentration more than twice the legal limit.

All accused were released with future court dates. None of the charges have been proven in court.

There has been an enormous amount of public education, there has been increased fines and penalties for impaired driving.

That old adage that “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” needs to apply more than ever. Police have a lot of things to do lately, dealing with impaired drivers just adds to the workload.