Driver had open liquor, alcohol in system
DAN ARSENAULT and DAVENE JEFFREY STAFF REPORTERS
Published October 9, 2014 – 4:42pm
Last Updated October 10, 2014 – 11:47am
The family of an 81-year-old woman who died after being run down in a Spryfield crosswalk last month is frustrated that Halifax police won’t lay criminal charges against the driver even though he had alcohol in his blood and open liquor in his vehicle.
The 73-year-old man, who has not been identified, had his licence suspended for a week and must pay a total of $640.40 in fines.
We don’t feel that justice has been done, Vincent Wilson said during a telephone interview Thursday night.
His grandmother, Lorraine June Peters, died in hospital the day after she was hit.
The driver temporarily lost his licence because he was found to have 50 to 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of his blood after the incident, which took place at Herring Cove and Williams Lake roads at 3:40 p.m. on Sept. 6. The driver turned right on a red light and hit the woman.
His summary offence tickets include a $176.45 Motor Vehicle Act fine for failing to yield to a pedestrian on a turn at a red light and a $463.95 penalty under the Liquor Control Act for illegally possessing liquor. Police issued the tickets Thursday.
Police found an unsealed, half-full liquor bottle in the vehicle after the crash.
Halifax Regional Police spokesman Const. Pierre Bourdages said the circumstances of the case don’t meet criminal standards.
There is no criminal element in this collision, he said. It’s a tragic incident, but there is nothing criminal.
Bourdages said the legal blood-alcohol limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The fact this case didn’t meet that standard wipes out the laying of criminal charges.
He said Nova Scotia enacted the legislation that enables police to issue one-week suspensions for limited blood-alcohol content.
It’s not something that is recognized by the Criminal Code (of Canada).
However, Peters’ family believe the man may have been over the legal limit.
Wilson said the family has been told the driver hit .08 on the roadside breath test.
Because those test results can vary, police had the choice of issuing a caution or taking the driver to the station, where his blood-alcohol content could have been accurately measured, he said.
Wilson questions why police chose not to take the man in for blood-alcohol screening.
Without those results, the family will never know whether the man was over the legal limit, he said.
MADD Canada believes the driver should not have been behind the wheel.
Most people don’t realize that for a 200-pound man to be over the legal limit, he would have to consume more than a six-pack of beer, said Andy Murie, a spokesman for MADD Canada.
There is plenty of scientific evidence that shows no one should be on the road with a blood-alcohol level above .05 because their reaction and judgment are impaired, Murie said.
He said MADD has been trying to persuade politicians to lower the legal limit in the Criminal Code and Ottawa has refused to listen.
As for the family, they must be terribly upset, Murie said.
According to Peters’ obituary, she is survived by a son, daughter, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
It’s kind of heartbreaking, Wilson said. She was in such great shape dancing, playing bingo and darts.”
Last year, Peters had beaten ovarian cancer and doctors told her she had bought herself another 10 years, Wilson said.