Police in Sudbury say they're frustrated in the fight against impaired driving — and so do the parents of those who are killed in their wake.

Sudbury police Cst. John Coluzzi, who runs the Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere — or RIDE — program in Sudbury, said he recently arrested someone on their seventh impaired driving offence.

“It would be nice to see more than a few days go by when we don't have an impaired driver put out in a media release.”

But it’s not just repeat offenders that upset officers. Both municipal and provincial police say it takes a huge amount of time to prosecute these cases.

Greater Sudbury police Cst. John Coluzzi runs the Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere program in Sudbury.

Hoops to jump through

Inspector Mark Andrews with the OPP said the stack of paperwork is asinine.

“There are all sorts of defences and all sorts of hoops we have to jump through.”

Andrews said it is not uncommon to see judges toss impaired cases out on a technicality, because one little item was missed.

It can be an unsatisfying end for officers who can spend an entire shift handling an impaired driving case.

Coluzzi said five RIDE officers execute the program monthly.   

“It does take quite a bit of time to process an impaired driver with respect to paperwork,” he said, adding Sudbury police lay about 200 impaired charges a year.

'Drunks still on the road’

Recently, one of those charges involved a 39-year-old man, following a fatal Highway 17 crash near Lively.

Kim Hancock lost her 18-year-old son D.J. in the August crash.

Kim Hancock with t-shirts that will be sold to raise funds for her son's memorial splash pad.

"We were about two minutes behind him on the highway,” she recalled.

“So we came up on it, which makes the whole situation worse because we probably saw too much. So when we go to sleep at night, that's what we see."

Just three months prior, Hancock’s father-in-law was badly hurt in a collision involving a driver who admitted to drinking.

“It just goes to show how many drunks are still on the road, at this point where … we're trying to teach our kids not to drink and drive,” she said.

Remembering the dead

Drivers along the stretch of road where D.J. Hancock was killed have probably noticed a huge roadside memorial assembled in his honour.

There's a shelter overflowing with hockey sticks, trophies, dried flowers — and even a jar of Nutella. Hockey jerseys scrawled with signatures flap in the wind.

In August, Dean "DJ" Hancock died after a westbound pick-up truck crashed into the eastbound lane Hancock was driving in.

"I got a card from a woman this week,” Hancock said.

“She stopped and planted a tree at the site out there … she didn't even know my son. But she said what she's seen on the highway was enough to tell her what kind of person he was."

Hancock was an avid hockey player and a soon-to-be student at Sudbury’s new architecture school.

"He liked nice things. He liked things to be perfect,” his mom recalled.

“His room was always perfect, you know, and he was always a good kid, always on the internet looking at houses saying, ‘Mom, our house should look like this’."

A ‘huge’ problem

Hancock joins the ever-increasing ranks of Sudbury area parents who have lost their children after people have made the decision to drive after drinking or taking drugs.

"You know, we try to not get discouraged, and we try to think that yes, we're making a difference, even if it's one at a time,” said Lisa Jelley, mother of Caitlin Jelley, who was killed by an impaired driver in 2009.

“But at the same time, the news reports can become discouraging because, yes, it still seems to be a huge problem."

The mother of Jazmine Houle, a teen who was killed in the same 2009 crash, said the financial penalties alone don’t seem to be enough of a deterrent.

"I mean, it could cost up to $10,000 just to get your licence back, and then your insurance is going to go up also,” Corinne Lamoureux said.

“It doesn't seem to be really working. They take away their licence for 30 days, now they've got an expensive ride just to work. There's thousands of dollars to get your licence back, [and] your car could be impounded. But that doesn't seem to be a deterrent enough."

Source: CBC News Sudbury


Last updated on: 2014-11-04 | Link to this post