Daily Archives: January 14, 2012
Coming to your state soon…
B.C. Senior Snared by Draconian Drunk Driving Law
Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Jan. 12 — To bully and berate an innocent senior then punish her without a trial for a crime she clearly didn’t commit.
This, apparently, is what Alberta has to look forward to under draconian drunk-driving laws inspired by our neighbouring province, where suspected motorists are guilty until they prove themselves innocent.
Fortunately for 82-year-old Margaret MacDonald, tears brought on by allegedly obnoxious B.C. RCMP officers didn’t blind her to protecting herself.
"I came into the house and burst into tears — then I stood here at three o’clock in the morning and thought ‘my word means nothing’," said MacDonald. "Three officers don’t believe me, so I phoned the hospital and took a taxi over to have a blood test. I’m not going to let the Mounties get away with saying I was drunk."
At the Cranbrook, B.C., hospital, she obtained a laboratory document proving what she’d desperately been trying to tell police a few minutes before. There was no alcohol in her system — not a drop — and yet MacDonald’s failure to provide a proper breath sample meant her car was taken away for a month and her licence suspended for 90 days.
Now, $6,000 out-of-pocket and in fear of losing her home, the Cranbrook senior will wait another six months for a ruling on her case…
It was May 21 when MacDonald was approached by an off-duty RCMP officer, just outside her home. MacDonald, a near-teetotaler, was returning from an engagement party at a friend’s house when she mistakenly turned into the wrong lane. She assumed that’s why the police officer was there.
Even when the off-duty cop told MacDonald a breathalyzer was coming to test her for drinking and driving, she didn’t worry — her last serious drink was 60 years ago. "I really don’t drink," she said. What she didn’t count on was the lung power needed to properly blow into a police breathalyzer. Having suffered from serious pneumonia a few years ago, she couldn’t manage.
That didn’t stop RCMP from making her try — over the next two hours, MacDonald says she was forced to stand in the chill and told to blow 15 times by increasingly snotty RCMP officers.
"He pounded on the hood of his car and shouted at me to blow. He shoved this thing in my mouth and it fell on the ground, and he picked it up and put in back in again," said MacDonald.
"I said, ‘I don’t drink, I haven’t been drinking,’ and he said, ‘you’re sticking your tongue in there because you don’t want do this — you’re slurring, you’re drunk and you stink of alcohol.’"
RCMP officials are now reviewing the conduct of officers that night, but try as they might, the Mounties couldn’t get a sample from the shivering, teary-eyed senior, who was wearing only sandals and a thin dress.
Thus, MacDonald was cited for failing to provide a breath sample, given a Notice of Driving Prohibition for three months, fined $500 and told her car was to be towed.
MacDonald wept, but she was sharp enough to obtain proof of her innocence, because in Canada that used to be enough to make those in power see sense.
Not anymore. Under a system about to be adopted in Alberta, drivers suspected of driving drunk, even under .05%, can lose their licences and cars without a trial.
Even after MacDonald took her blood test to the RCMP station, she was told nothing could be done…
Despite proof of alcohol-free blood, B.C.’s superintendent of motor vehicles adjudicator still found her guilty…
The ordeal took a massive toll on MacDonald — a few days later, she suffered what doctors in Calgary told her was a mild, stress-related heart attack, leaving her bed-ridden in hospital.
Back in Cranbrook, all she can do is wait.
"I’m nearly 83 and you have to cope with life, but through my years I’ve never been this traumatized over anything," she said.
"Especially when I’m totally innocent."
The War on Drunk Driving continues….