Article by CBC News
Thunder Bay police say they’re on track to break a record for the number of impaired driving charges laid by officers in a year.
The previous record was set in 2019, when officers laid just over 200 impaired driving charges, said Thunder Bay police traffic Const. Mark Cattani.
“We’re on pace for about 215, 220, somewhere in that neighbourhood,” Cattani said Monday. “That’s on top of the fact that March was almost a write-off, since nobody was travelling” because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“March was way down,” he said. “We had very little car traffic on the road at all, very few reasons for people to be socializing.”
“An then April, we saw the numbers start to creep up a little bit,” Cattani said. “May more than made up for it, June’s the same.”
In July, he said, police are charging almost a person a day with impaired driving.
Cattani’s words came just after police say another very-busy weekend for impaired driving charges: five people were charged for impaired driving in a 25-hour period.
The first arrest came just after 1:30 a.m. Sunday, when officers saw a white SUV drifting within its lane while travelling northbound on Memorial Avenue, near First Avenue.
Police stopped the vehicle, and noticed multiple signs of impairment while speaking to the driver, who was a 27-year-old Toronto man.
A standardized roadside sobriety test was conducted, and the results led police to believe the man was impaired by drug.
Police also found cannabis and oxycodone in his possession, and charged him with driving while impaired by drug, and drug possession.
The second charge came about eight hours later, when police saw a vehicle being driven by a suspected suspended driver.
A widespread, complex problem
The vehicle was stopped, and police again noticed signs of impairment when speaking to the driver.
A roadside sobriety test led police to believe the man was impaired by drug, and the 34-year-old Thunder Bay man was arrested.
It was the accused’s second impaired driving charge in 2020, police said.
The third incident occurred just before 11:20 a.m. Sunday, when police clocked a vehicle travelling more than 20 km/h above the posted speed limit on Cumberland Street North, near Current River Park.
The vehicle was stopped, and the driver displayed signs of impairment while speaking to an officer.
A breath test was conducted, confirming the man was impaired by alcohol.
The 26-year-old Thunder Bay man was arrested and charged.
Then, just after 6 p.m. Sunday, police received reports of two motor-vehicle collisions, one in the the 600 block of Waterloo Street South, and the second at Kingsway Avenue and Christina Street East.
Police learned the same pickup truck was involved in both collisions, and investigation led them to find the driver at a residence on Christina Street.
The 45-year-old Thunder Bay man had a blood alcohol concentration that was more than three times the legal limit, and he was charged with impaired driving.
The fifth charge came at about 2 a.m. Monday, after police saw a driver struggling to keep his vehicle in its lane in the area of Valley Street, near Highway 11/17.
Police pulled the vehicle over, and a breath test revealed the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of more than twice the legal limit.
Police put resources into training, enforcement
The 29-year-old Thunder Bay man was charged with impaired driving.
All five accused have been released from custody, pending future court appearances, police said.