Man gets 90 days’ jail for impaired crash

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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."

Geographic location: Colchester County, Westville, Cowan Street British Columbia Canada United States

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Recent comments

  • Friend of victim and family
    January 31, 2013 - 17:15

    90 days is insulting considering how he almost killed a father of 2 and someone's husband. This was not his first drinking and driving charge either are they going to wait until he takes someone's life until they dish out a real charge? Drinking and driving laws are not firm enough people need to be afraid to lose something more then a peice of plastic in their wallet. DUI charges should come with an automatic 30 days In jail and a lot bigger charge laws are not form enough to make people think twice about being that senseless. Good letters from friends or not the point is he's been to AA and rehab and had previous convictions for drinking and driving and his "wake up call" was almost killing someone's father/husband ? How about a solid year in jail for a wake up call? Once again our justice system has failed

  • NG Resident
    January 31, 2013 - 11:17

    90 days is a joke! There is NO EXCUSE FOR DRINKING and DRIVING! whether your an alcoholic or not. Glad he is appearing to make changes in his life. But what about the victim who has suffered greatly from this and has lost work because of being injured from this senseless act! Who is still affected by injuries to this day. The stress his family has gone through. 90 Days pathetic! If we had tougher laws about this people might start getting scared and stop doing it. It will never ever completely go away but it would sure help.

  • Colton
    January 30, 2013 - 15:40

    i completely agree with "sam". i know this man personally and he has changed! its unfortunate he got what he did but on the bright side its better than a year or more! he has paid his price long before this!! i can see putting someone away for 90 days that after the incident is still a alcoholic or hasn't done anything to change his life around but i think its a little much for someone in this situation

  • SAM
    January 30, 2013 - 12:12

    I agree with the Judge. Putting this man who appears to be making positive changes in his life behind bars for months/years is senseless!! It appears he is paying the price and an extended period of jail time is not going to make things better for him or the victims. We as a society need to learn to forgive and be kind to one another.

  • Derek Andrews
    January 30, 2013 - 08:19

    Its a shame that the justice system wasn't setup to make him fix his problem when he had his first impaired conviction, let alone subsequent ones.

  • Victim Friend
    January 30, 2013 - 08:09

    When someone nearly kills a father of two, and runs their car through a home, 90 days in prison is a slap on the wrist. What else would one expect from out justice system!

  • Jolene
    January 29, 2013 - 21:20

    Almost entered a house?!?!?? Might want to reword that, he did go threw the wall of the house not to mention that my mother was sitting there when it took place which caused her great stress, on top of her home being damaged for the last year and the stress of that.....forgive me if 30 days seems like a JOKE!!!! Give me a break!!!