Sudbury court: Driver spotted drinking in his vehicle

ED KAISER / POSTMEDIA

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A Sudbury man seen drinking beer behind the wheel of a vehicle in the parking lot of a downtown grocery store in early November has been fined $2,000 and lost his driver’s licence for one year.

“As we heard from the Crown attorney, drinking and driving is a very serious crime and it is preventable,” Ontario Court Justice Heather-Ann Mendes said Thursday just before issuing the two penalties to Brian Fitzpatrick.

“It is catastrophic the destruction that drinking and driving brings to families and lives every day. While the 1999 (drunk driving) conviction is a dated offence, I sincerely hope you have learned a lesson.”

Fitzpatrick, 62, had pleaded guilty to having more than the legal allowable level of alcohol in his system within two hours of driving (blowing over).

The Crown and defence lawyer Cedric Bourgeois suggested the penalties.

The court heard that about 6:35 p.m. Nov. 4, witnesses saw Fitzpatrick drinking a beer while seated in the driver’s seat of a 2005 Nissan in the parking lot at 82 Lorne St. – Chris’ Independent Grocer, situated not far from a Beer Store location.

They called Greater Sudbury Police.

Fitzpatrick told officers he had just taken a drink before their arrival. Fitzpatrick later produced Intoxilyzer readings of 120 and 100, both well over the legal limit of 80 while driving.

The court also heard that in 1999, Fitzpatrick was convicted of impaired driving.

Bourgeois, in his sentencing submission, said the now-retired Fitzpatrick made a serious error in judgment.

“He made a terrible decision that night having a beer in his vehicle,” said the lawyer. “He had no intention of driving. His wife had gone to the Beer Store prior. (But) he understands he could have put the vehicle in motion if he wanted to.”

Bourgeois added that Fitzpatrick “made a mistake and wants this to get behind him.”

“Drinking and driving is very serious,’ assistant Crown attorney Jeffrey Martin said. “It causes deaths every day in this country.”

hcarmichael@postmedia.com

Twitter: @HaroldCarmichae

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