April 3, 2014 4:33 pm

Child found in car of suspected impaired driver

EDMONTON – Police are trying to drive home the message of reporting possible impaired drivers, after a shocking case last month involving a young boy.

A concerned motorist called police on the afternoon of March 9 after seeing a vehicle driving erratically in the area of Whitemud Drive and 178 Street. The vehicle had reportedly narrowly avoided hitting a curb and apparently came close to striking five vehicles while straddling two lanes of traffic.

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A police cruiser was eventually able to stop the vehicle in the area of 34 Ave. and 48 St. The 43-year-old man behind the wheel was showing signs of impairment when he was pulled over, according to police.

When the driver stepped out of the vehicle, police say he failed to place it into park so the vehicle started moving forward for a short distance.

What was even more concerning for police, though, was that a seven-year-old boy was in the passenger seat at the time of the incident. Police allegedly also found a partially consumed bottle of liquor inside the vehicle.

The driver was charged with impaired driving after providing blood alcohol readings more than three times over the legal limit, police say.

This was one of nearly more than 760 calls Edmonton police received in March about suspected impaired drivers. Of those, nearly 250 were intercepted; 57 impaired charges were laid, 26 24-hour suspensions were handed out, and 53 letters were sent out to the registered vehicle owners whose vehicles could not be intercepted.

Police say the following signs could indicate an impaired driver:

  • unreasonably fast or slow speeds or inconsistent speeds;
  • frequent lane changes or swerving when passing;
  • ignoring traffic signals and signs;
  • approaching traffic signals and signs unreasonably fast or slow;
  • sitting at stop signs for long periods of time;
  • jerky starts and stops;
  • driving too close to the curbs and shoulders; hugging the edge of the road or straddling the centre line;
  • driving at night without lights; or,
  • driving with the windows down in cold weather.

If you see a suspected impaired driver, police ask that you:

  • Call 9-1-1 and report the incident immediately (Under Bill 16 of the Distracted Driving legislation, drivers are permitted to use hand-held devices to contact 9-1-1 emergency services).
  • Take note of the location;
  • Report the license plate number as well as the vehicle description; and
  • If possible, keep the vehicle in sight, but do not attempt to chase the vehicle or break the law in order to stay close.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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