A B.C. trucker has been fined $1,000 and sentenced to two years probation after getting caught operating an 18-wheeler while impaired in Nanaimo earlier this year.
David Glen Hildahl, 45, pleaded guilty to one count of impaired driving on Dec. 17 in Nanaimo Provincial Court.
A second charge of driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit was stayed by Crown.
On the evening of Oct. 25, Nanaimo RCMP were alerted about a motorist driving erratically southbound on the Island Highway from Parksville. Mounties spotted the vehicle around 9 p.m. and pulled over its driver on Highway 19 just south of the Fifth Street exit.
Police say empty beer cans were found beside the driver and when he stepped out from the big rig, which was hauling fuel tanks, “the symptoms of impaired driving were evident.”
Hildahl was arrested at the scene and transported to the Nanaimo RCMP detachment, where police say his two breath samples registered at 230 milligrams — nearly three times the legal BAC limit.
At the time, police said investigating officers described the incident as “very troubling and shocking.”
“Although the fuel tanks were later found to be empty, given the sheer size of the vehicle, and distance travelled in an impaired state, it was simply a miracle that a tragic accident had not occurred,” said Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien.
Hildahl’s semi-trailer was impounded roadside, and according to the BC Trucking Association (BCTA), the driver’s commercial licence has been pulled.
“It’s always disappointing when we see drivers, particularly professionals, making these types of decisions and putting everyone at risk,” said Dave Earle, the president and CEO of the BCTA.
The BCTA represents trucking companies, not individual drivers or owner-operators. While the organization does have a code of conduct for members, it says the province holds the authority for National Safety Code penalties.
B.C.’s Superintendent of Motor Vehicles has the legislative authority to prohibit a person from driving.
Due to privacy laws, the Ministry of Public Safety told Global News that RoadSafetyBC cannot comment on an individual’s driving record or the details of licensing, prohibitions, sanctions or penalties, whether active or imposed in the future.
The courts handed Hildahl a one-year criminal driving ban. On top of his $1,000 fine, he must pay a victim surcharge of $300 by June 30, 2020.