NT Valley snowmobilers facing impaired driving sanctions

  • Feb. 28, 2011 7:00 a.m.

Late Saturday night, Feb. 12, two snowmobiles were observed operating on Highway 5 in Clearwater. Both were stopped and the drivers face several charges including impaired driving.

Just around midnight a member of the Clearwater Traffic Services saw two snowmobiles traveling south on Highway 5. They had just crossed the Clearwater River using the highway bridge. The member activated the emergency lights and pulled the sleds over.

While dealing with both drivers, an odor of alcohol was detected. Breath samples were obtained on an approved screening device and both drivers blew a “Fail.” A fail indicates the sample is above the legal limit.

One driver was processed under the new IRP (Immediate Roadside Prohibition) program. He now has a 90-day driving prohibition and his snowmobile was impounded for 30 days.

The second driver was returned to the detachment and processed under the Criminal Code due to previous impaired driving charges. The breath samples were 130/140, well above the legal limit. He will attend court in March. The Office of the Superintendent had also previously canceled his driver’s license.

In addition to the impaired driving, the operators are facing Motor Vehicle Act charges including no insurance. While obtaining particulars from the machines, the member found a small quantity of marijuana.

This situation could have been devastating. Highway 5 is a well-traveled interprovincial highway, which at the time was experiencing a high volume of commercial truck traffic due to closures on Highway 1.  There is limited lighting in the area and by using a bridge there would have been nowhere for the drivers to go should they have encountered other vehicles. Add this up with driving under the influence and they are very lucky to only be dealing with impaired charges.

Both drivers (ages 41 and 50) are from the Clearwater area.