An impaired driver who slammed his car into a tree just outside The Western Star’s office building last fall has been given a stiffer sentence than the mandatory minimum for a first-time offender.
Craig Scott Eakins of Thornhill, Ont. was no longer in his 2013 Ford Fusion when the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary responded to a report of an accident at around 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 4, 2013.
As Judge Kymil Howe was told when the matter was called for sentencing in provincial court in Corner Brook Thursday, three men who were in the area at the time of the accident pointed Eakins out to the police.
Eakins was walking towards the Glynmill Inn when the three bystanders told police he was the person who had been driving. The responding officers called for Eakins to come back to the crash site.
According to Crown attorney John Noseworthy, Eakins staggered over to the police, there was a strong odour of alcohol emanating from him and his eyes were bloodshot and watery.
Eakins was taken to Western Memorial Regional Hospital for medical examination and had X-rays. He was medically discharged from the hospital a little more than two hours after the accident and was taken back to RNC headquarters for analysis of his breath.
The two samples of breath subsequently taken both showed Eakins had 120 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in his system.
While the readings exceeded the legal limit of 80 milligrams, they were not considered statutorily aggravating — which would be twice the legal limit. The fact he had caused an accident in a relatively busy part of Corner Brook was an aggravating factor.
Noseworthy told the court the accident at the intersection of Park Street, Central Street and East Valley Road is near a business that operates 24 hours a day and was in the vicinity of a hotel and several bars. Even late at night, it typically can be a busy area, said Noseworthy.
Eakins, who was not in court for his sentencing, had previously entered a guilty plea.
The minimum sentence for a first impaired driving offence is a $1,000 fine and one-year driving prohibition.
Noseworthy suggested a fine in the range of $1,500 to $1,800 and a driving prohibition of between 14 to 16 months. Defence lawyer Jonathan Andrews did not object to the Crown’s submission on sentencing.
Howe, noting the guilty plea and the fact nobody other than Eakins was hurt in the crash, fined him $1,500 and suspended his driving privileges for 14 months.