Editor’s note: On Dec. 9, 2020, the criminal charges against White were stayed. He instead pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention under the Motor Vehicle Act and received a $2,000 fine and one year of probation.
A well-known Gibsons town councillor and former long-time Sunshine Coast school trustee is now facing impaired driving charges after a car crash in September.
On Oct. 24, Silas David White was charged with impaired driving causing bodily harm and causing an accident resulting in bodily harm in connection with an alleged collision just before midnight on Sun. Sept. 16, 2018. He suddenly withdrew from the Gibsons mayor’s race in September.
It’s alleged White was driving on Gower Point Road near 12th Street in Gibsons when his vehicle went off the road. Sunshine Coast RCMP say three occupants of the vehicle were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
White was taken into custody for suspicion of impaired driving and later released. He is set to appear in Sechelt Provincial court at 9 am on Nov. 21.
White, who is still officially a Gibsons town councillor until the new mayor and council are sworn in next week, was the only candidate for mayor by the Sept. 14, 2018 nomination deadline.
On Sept. 18, 2018 – two days after the alleged impaired driving collision, the acclaimed mayoral candidate withdrew his candidacy for the mayor’s race – forcing the town of Gibsons to extend the nomination period.
White has responded to the charges in a statement sent to Global News:
“The last four months have been an unimaginably dark time in my life. As I’ve shared previously, I sustained a serious brain injury on July 1st in a bike accident. The impact of that injury was significant, preventing me from sleeping, and causing me extreme stress and cognitive difficulties. In September, I withdrew my name from the Town of Gibsons election,” said White.
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“Additionally, while still dealing with the impacts of the concussion, I had been involved in a serious car accident, something I could not talk about at the time for a number of reasons, including protecting the privacy of others involved. I am extremely grateful for the Gibsons and District Volunteer Fire Department and other first responders who attended the scene.”
White said when he made his decision to withdraw from the mayor’s race he had not been charged but the accident “clearly illustrated to me and my loved ones that my judgement that evening was severely compromised by my brain injury.”
“I felt I owed it to myself, my family and my community to concentrate on my ongoing recovery and medical treatment, and eventually face the consequences of the accident, as a private citizen rather than pressing on as a public official. This is also why shortly thereafter, I withdrew my name from the mayoral election,” added White.
“Yesterday, I received a court summons for impaired driving causing bodily harm and causing an accident resulting in bodily harm. I have engaged legal counsel and hope to have these charges resolved as quickly as possible.”
White says he believes he made the right decision to step away from public life. He is asking for privacy for his family, and will not be participating in interviews on the charges as the matter is now going before the court.
According to his bio on the town of Gibsons’ website, White was born in Sechelt, grew up in Pender Harbour and has lived in Gibsons for ten years.
White has served as a Sunshine Coast school trustee for nine years – including six as board chair – before being elected to Gibsons council in 2014. White was appointed to serve as the town’s director on the Sunshine Coast Regional District when he was elected to council. He also runs the literary publishing company Nightwood Editions.
Bill Beamish, who had been running for Gibsons council, stepped in to run for mayor against three other late candidates – Blake MacLeod, Leslie Thomson, and William Moysey. Beamish won the mayor’s seat with 76.6 per cent of the vote.
White was behind a 2015 MADD campaign to erect signage to deter drunk drivers. At a Jan. 6, 2015 Gibsons council meeting, White moved a motion to support a bylaw officer’s report on the ‘911 Program to Report Impaired Drivers’.
As a result, signs reading “Report Impaired Drivers – Pull Over, Call 911” were placed in three locations on Gibsons’ town boundaries while signs urging the public to report impaired boaters were placed at Gibsons Landing Harbour Authority and Gibsons Marina.
–With files from Richard Zussman