New Year marred by more impaired driving

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The holiday may be over but impaired driving remains a big concern on area roads.

Police have charged more than a half-dozen drivers already in 2020 with being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The latest was Saturday, when Manitoulin OPP responded to complaints of an erratic driver on Highway 6, south of Little Current, shortly before 6 p.m.

The vehicle was located and police determined that the driver had been consuming alcohol, the detachment said in a release.

Andre Leblanc, 52, from the Township of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, was charged with impaired operation over 80 mgs and is scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Gore Bay on Feb. 19.

Greater Sudbury Police, meanwhile, said two men were charged Friday with operation while impaired within 45 minutes of one another. One of the incidents resulted in a collision with a Sudbury transit bus.

“Thankfully, no injuries,” the police service said on Twitter. “Don’t let one moment of poor judgment ruin your life or the lives of others.”

Nipissing West OPP, for their part, have charged four drivers with impaired operation since Jan. 1, as well as issued two three-day driver’s licence suspension to drivers for having a blood-alcohol concentration within the warn range.

On New Year’s Day at 1:15 a.m., OPP members received information from the Greater Sudbury Police Service regarding a possible impaired driver who left the Hanmer area and was heading eastbound.

Shortly thereafter, officers located and stopped the suspect vehicle on Highway 17 in Markstay-Warren.

The driver was given a breath test and registered a fail.

April Forward, 41, from North Bay, was charged with impaired over 80 mgs and is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Sudbury on Jan. 29.

Shortly after midnight on Jan. 2, a vehicle was observed travelling below the posted limit in Sturgeon Falls and stopped by police.

Mathieu Robidas, 26, from Sturgeon Falls, blew over and was charged with impaired.

He is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Sturgeon Falls on Feb. 6.

Just a half an hour later, Nipissing West OPP stopped a vehicle for speeding on Highway 17 in Verner and determined the driver had been consuming alcohol.

Mathieu Theriault, 32, from Saint-Simeon, Que. was charged with impaired over 80 mgs as well as dangerous operation and racing a motor vehicle (excessive speed).

He is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Sturgeon Falls on March 5.

On Jan. 5, at 10:40 p.m., patrol officers were following a vehicle in Sturgeon Falls when they observed it weaving in its lane. The vehicle was subsequently stopped on Dutrisac Road.

Upon speaking with the driver, officers concluded the driver was under the influence of a drug and conducted a standard field sobriety test, which resulted in a fail. Investigation by a drug recognition expert was also carried out.

Rejean Martel, 50, of Verner was charged with impaired operation and is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Sturgeon Falls on Feb. 6.

All four drivers charged by Nippissing West OPP were issued 90-day administrative driver’s licence suspensions and had their vehicles impounded for seven days.

“The OPP remains committed to ensuring Ontario roads are safe from alcohol-impaired and drug-impaired drivers,” the service said.

“Police rely on the public to report crime. Impaired driving is a crime that should be treated no differently.”

If you suspect that someone is driving or about to drive impaired, call 911 to report it.

sud.editorial@sunmedia.ca

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