PICTOU – A Colchester County man, whose blood alcohol level tested four times the legal limit following a vehicle crash last year in Westville, has been sent to prison for three months.
Daniel Andrews, 46, was sentenced in Pictou provincial court Tuesday to a 90-day jail sentence to be served in straight time as well as 18 months’ probation and a two-year driving prohibition.
He was expected to go to trial next week on a charge of impaired driving causing bodily harm, but changed his plea to guilty Monday.
Crown Attorney Patrick Young told the court that a motorist called police after spotting a vehicle weaving on Cowan Street around 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 13, 2012. Shortly after, she contacted police again to say the vehicle was in an accident at the corner of Main and Cowan streets and they should call paramedics.
When police arrived, the driver of a half-ton truck was standing outside of his vehicle bleeding from the scalp. The rear bumper was pushed into a pole and an aluminum tool box from the vehicle was on the street as well as other items.
Police located Andrews in the front seat of his car, which was "totally demolished” and against a house across from the stop sign. Young said Andrews was unconscious at the time, but police were able to smell alcohol on his breath when he was put inside an ambulance.
A warrant was obtained by police and blood samples taken at 3 a.m. registered 278 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood. However, police forensics determined that at the time of the accident, Andrews blood alcohol level would have been between 324 and 370 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood.
The Crown acknowledged that Andrews pleaded guilty to the charge and has taken steps through rehabilitation to turn his life around, but Young said the court cannot ignore the fact that he caused a collision that came close to entering someone's home, caused property damage and has previous impaired convictions.
Defence lawyer Robert Cragg said his client has taken great strides to learn from his experience and point his life in a different direction.
He submitted 39 letters to the court from friends and family who support Andrews either personally or through his work as a custom machinist. He said his client currently owns his own business in Colchester County and is "revered as a master custom machinist" whose services are sought across Canada and the United States.
Immediately following the 2012 collision, Cragg said Andrews searched out a rehabilitation centre in British Columbia and used his life savings of $20,000 to attend the drug dependency clinic.
When he returned home, he continued his rehabilitation by attending outpatient programs and regular AA meetings.
Many of the letters of support read out by Cragg showed that Andrews has reconnected with his family after his rehabilitation.
"Dad is a new man and will never touch a bottle again," wrote one of his children.
"We all see that he has learned his lesson and he is very eager to do his time and keep the past in the past."
Cragg said friends and family also wrote about how Andrews has accepted responsibility and has shown remorse.
Visibly shaken, Andrews told the judge that the collision was the wakeup call he needed to create a better life for himself and his family.
He said the accident left him with no feeling on side of his face and his nose out of joint, but he decided against plastic surgery.
"I wanted to see the person in the mirror after I returned from British Columbia," he said.
"The accident happened and it was bad, but because of it, I've had the best year of my life that I've had in 30 years,"
Judge Del Atwood commended Andrews on his rehabilitation, but said he still put the public at risk. He suggested Andrews follow the motto of the British Columbia drug dependency clinic and set himself free.
"For the next 90 days you will have a price to pay, but after that you are free to choose your own destiny," he said. "You have letters of commitment from your family and you have a lot of people in your corner."