By David F. Rooney
A man who passed out in his vehicle near the turnoff to Johnson Heights found out the hard way that while it’s not good being impaired, your situation just gets worse when the Mounties find a rifle in your car.
Provincial Court Judge Edmond De Walle was told Wednesday that when two local Mounties came across Cameron Bowick in his vehicle on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway on Feb. 12 he blew .220 and .242 on the breathalyzer, about three times the legal blood alcohol limit of .08. They also found a Ruger M77 Mark II hunting rifle in the vehicle.
Bowick pleaded guilty to being over the legal limit while in the care and control of a vehicle and to possession of an unregistered firearm.
Defence lawyer Chris Johnston said the 42-year-old truck driver from Penticton was cooperative with police and “there was nothing sinister about the firearm.” He has just purchased it from for $800 and was on his way to Alberta.
However, Crown Prosecutor Greg Koturbash argued for a $1,500 fine for being impaired while in the care and control of a vehicle, $500 fine for possession of a firearm and prohibition on possessing any in the near future.
Judge De Walle agreed and, besides the fines and a 12-month driving prohibition, ordered that Bowick be prohibited from possessing a firearm for the next three years.
In an openly traumatic case, a 47-year-old woman pleaded guilty to a charge of impaired driving that was laid after a bizarre Feb. 3 incident on Douglas Street.
Crown Prosecutor Greg Koturbash said Jennifer Neubeck blew through a stop sign at the corner of Wright and Douglas right in front of Const. Eric Page who was in an unmarked vehicle. The officer hit his lights and signalled her to pull over. She did not cooperate him and continued south on Douglas. Page pursued her until she scraped the side of U-Haul and eventually slowed to a standstill.
Page went to Neubeck’s vehicle and found her staring out the window. He noticed that the car was still rolling so he opened the door and turned off the engine.
“She repeatedly said, ‘What? What? What?” Koturbash told the court. “Then she said, ‘I’m going to lose my job.'”
When she submitted samples of her breath for analysis the machine showed readings of .350 and .340 — more than four times the legal blood/alcohol limit.
“These were the highest readings I’ve seen in my career,” he told the court.
As Neubeck wept openly but silently before the judge, defence lawyer Melissa Klages said the woman made no excuses for her behaviour “and was going through an extremely bad period in her life” when the incident occurred. She did not elaborate on that.
Klages said that after the incident Neubeck enrolled in, and successfully completed, a drug and alcohol treatment program and continues to see the Interior Health drug and alcohol counsellor at Queen Victoria Hospital.
“It was extremely fortunate that you did not injure yourself or someone else,” Judge De Walle told Neubeck. “Hopefully this will send a message out to the community.”
Revelstoke Provincial Court sees far too many impaired driving cases, he said.
He ordered Newbeck to pay a $1,500 fine and a $225 victim surcharge. She was also prohibited from driving for one year.
De Walle said he hopes she is successful in overcoming her problems.
In five other impaired driving cases, Patrick Gerber of Switzerland, Christopher Polson of Falkland, Donald Sinclair of Golden, Phillip Aslin of Revelstoke and Kevin Pylatuk of Revelstoke all pleaded guilty. Each one was fined $1,000 and prohibited from driving for one year.