Donald Dummer, 55, made his first court appearance on May 26, 2015, after being charged with impaired driving. Dummer called the police on himself while driving intoxicated.

With a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit, Donald Dummer hopped in his car and started his drive from Essex to Leamington.

He said he had an appointment that he didn’t want to miss, but while making his way along Highway 3 on the morning of March 17, the 55-year-old struggling alcoholic pulled onto the shoulder of the road, turned on his hazard lights and called 911.

For the man who has battled alcoholism most of his life, he says making the call that spring morning was a turning point in his life.

“I was at what I felt was the bottom. So I made the call,” he said outside the provincial courthouse where he pleaded guilty to impaired driving charges on Tuesday. He received a $1,400 fine, a one-year driving ban and 12 months of probation.

He explained to the operator he was too drunk to drive. Police arrived shortly after to find Dummer and a half-empty mickey of Wiser’s whisky in the vehicle. His blood alcohol level registered at 290 milligrams per 100 milligrams of blood, well outside Ontario’s drinking and driving laws.


Those are “rock-star numbers,” defence lawyer Daniel Topp conceded in court. But Topp commended Dummer for turning himself in, suggesting that component of the incident should factor in to his punishment.

Crown attorney Craig Houle disagreed, saying Dummer has a history of impaired driving, referring to convictions in 1985 and 1994. Houle also suggested the staggering blood alcohol levels that morning illustrate a severe history of alcoholism.

“For most individuals, at that level, they wouldn’t even be able to make a phone call because they’d be passed out or otherwise unconscious,” he told the court.

Dummer will also have to complete whatever rehabilitation programs prescribed to him by his probation officer, explained Justice Ronald Marion.

Dummer agrees with the Crown’s assessment of his battle with alcohol. Outside the courthouse, he said he already had plans to check into Brentwood Recovery Home before calling the police on himself that morning, but he was waiting for a spot to open up.

He knew he needed help, but thought he could handle himself until he could get admitted. Then came the moment on Highway 3.

I have an alcohol issue, like a sincere one, which I’ve known for years and I just pulled the rug out from under myself and said I’ve had enough,

“I have an alcohol issue, like a sincere one, which I’ve known for years and I just pulled the rug out from under myself and said I’ve had enough,” he said.

That moment in the car, when he realized he needed help, will stand as a strong reminder of how dangerous his addiction can become.

“I was about halfway there, when I thought: What am I doing?” he said in a brief interview.

Dummer has been in Brentwood for 70 days and plans to move to a community just outside Chatham where he has a hotel manager job waiting for him once he completes his rehabilitation program.

The hardest part about his experience was realizing he couldn’t do this on his own.

“After numerous tries, I needed help,” he said.

Source: National Post


Last updated on: 2015-06-01 | Link to this post