24-hour suspension handed to drug impaired driver who killed family dog sparks outrage
A Mission mother is furious about what she calls an overly lenient penalty for an impaired driver that killed her family pet, and who she says nearly hit her son.
Jaclyn Andall said the family is still grieving the loss of their nine-year-old Shih tzu-Brussels Griffin cross Cherry, who was hit by a speeding car on Diamond Avenue near Lee Street around 7 p.m. on Friday.
She said her 16-year-old son had taken Cherry for a walk down the shoulder of the street when a pair of cars she believes were street racing sped past, one of them losing control.
“[He] went off the road and ran over my dog, and missed my kid by inches, literally inches,” Andall said, adding that the driver had a “N” marker on the car.
“I am in complete shock. I am very, very thankful that my kid was not hit. Unfortunately I believe the dog saved his life, because had she been on the grass, it would have been him.”
Mission RCMP confirmed officers attended the scene and that the adult driver was given a standard field sobriety test and determined to be impaired, likely by drugs.
Police said the file did not include a note about a pedestrian nearly being struck, and could not confirm the novice status of the driver.
WATCH: Charges for drug impairment while driving decided on a case by case basis: Wilson-Raybould
“He was determined to be impaired and we conducted a standard field sobriety test which resulted in a 24-hour driving prohibition,” said Mission RCMP Cpl. Rob Hull.
“Based on this, I don’t see that there’s further charges. I think it is because the suspicion is that he was impaired by drug, not alcohol, and that would be a 215 Motor Vehicle Act 24-hour suspension.”
And she said she’s outraged the driver won’t face a stiffer penalty.
“I want more,” she said. “The guy was high and completely reckless on a dead-end street. I want more.”
Kyla Lee, a lawyer who specializes in impaired driving with Acumen Law, said the roadside penalty assessed was likely due to the legal infrastructure not being in place for Canada’s new drug-impaired driving laws.
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“So we’ll be seeing later this year more consequences coming for drug impaired driving that can be done roadside absent criminal charges, but at this point in time, if they’re not pursuing then the 24 hours is basically all they can get.”
“It’s the biggest thing with driving high. It’s been a lot of people’s fears and especially mine, with my son walking around out there. I want more than 24 hours.”
Andall said Cherry was still alive after being struck, but after a bad prognosis from the vet, the family made the hard choice to put her down.
“So I chose to end her suffering, and now my son has to live with the fact that he watched his dog get hit and killed by someone street racing and driving while high,” she said.
“He’s reliving it,” she said. “He’s beating himself, going, ‘I should have just taken her out back.'”
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