CORNER BROOK — A man who tried to get the police to intervene in a dispute over an all-terrain vehicle last summer has ended up convicted of driving while over the legal alcohol limit.
Roderick M. Eldridge, 54, had called the cops in the early evening of Aug. 25.
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary responded to what it thought was a disagreement over the ownership of the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) after Eldridge complained that someone had taken his machine and was refusing to return it.
The police went to Eldridge’s home, but he was not there. While police were there, the officers noticed an ATV approaching the home, but it then turned away from the police.
The police stopped the ATV and identified the driver as Eldridge, who was showing signs of impairment.
Subsequent breath analysis showed Eldridge had readings of 200 and 210 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in his system, well above the legal limit of 80 milligrams.
Eldridge was not in provincial court when his case was called Tuesday. His lawyer, Gerard Martin, entered a guilty plea to failing the breathalyzer, after which Crown attorney Adam Sparkes withdrew a charge of driving while impaired.
Martin told Judge Kymil Howe that Eldridge had learned his ATV had been taken without his consent and, after calling the police, found out the machine was parked just down the road from his house. Eldridge had went down to retrieve his ATV and was driving it back to his property when the police showed up.
Martin said Eldridge acknowledged driving the ATV while under the influence was “a foolish thing to do.”
His client also realized that being impaired by more than twice the legal limit would be seen as an aggravating factor by the court. Martin asked Howe to still give Eldridge, who had no prior criminal record, the mandatory minimum sentence of a $1,000 fine and a 12-month driving prohibition.
Sparkes had asked for a sentence slightly higher than the minimum, given the level of intoxication. The Crown wanted a fine of between $1,200 and $1,400 and a driving prohibition of between 12 and 14 months.
Howe said she could not ignore the high alcohol readings and fined Eldridge $1,300 and prohibited him from driving any motorized vehicle for one year.