Sudbury driver was two times over the limit

Sudbury Star

An Ontario Court judge sternly told a Greater Sudbury man Wednesday that he can drink all he wants, but just don’t get behind a steering wheel and drive.

“It’s not common to have a reading over 200,” Justice Greg Rodgers told Denis Gagnon, who was awaiting sentencing Wednesday on a blowing over charge. “That’s a really high reading. It’s unusually high. Many people would be hospitalized if they have that much alcohol in their system.”

Rodgers then asked Gagnon if he struggled with alcohol, to which Gagnon replied he did not.

“You’re entitled to drink yourself to death,” continued Rodgers. “That would be a tragedy for the people who care about you. But, you’re not entitled to get behind the wheel of a car in that condition. You took a personal problem and how you chose to take care of it, it became everyone else’s problem at 5:30 p.m. in the afternoon. You put yourself at risk and you put other people at risk as well …

“This is bigger than you — the crime of driving a vehicle when you are heavily intoxicated and the risk it poses … This is an offence that kills people.”

Rodgers issued a $2,500 fine and one-year licence suspension to Gagnon, 53, who had no prior record.

The Crown and defence lawyer Berk Keaney suggested the penalties.

The court heard that about 5:20 p.m. June 30, Gagnon was driving on Municipal Road 80. Near Desmarais Road in Val Therese, Greater Sudbury Police officers saw him. They saw him frequently drifting towards the curb and then drifting back into the lane and partly into the adjoining lane.

The police cruiser’s roof lights and siren were activated, but Gagnon did not immediately react and stop his vehicle until he reached the Frost Avenue area.

Officers noticed a strong odour of alcohol on Gagnon’s breath. The Gagnon vehicle also lurched forward a bit as it was not in park gear.

Gagnon failed a Roadside test and later produced Intoxilyzer readings of 215 and 217, almost triple the legal allowable level of 80 while driving.

Keaney said that at the time Gagnon was under great stress due to a housing issue.

“He didn’t intend on drinking a copious amount of alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a car,” said the lawyer. “This is a one-off.”
Keaney said there were some triable issues in the case, but Gagnon decided he wanted to enter a guilty plea.

“I’m sorry,” Gagnon told Rodgers. “I made a bad decision. You will never see me here again.”

hcarmichael@postmedia.com

Twitter: @HaroldCarmichae

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