Ponoka avoids drinking and driving over holidays

Over Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day there were no drunk drivers arrested.

  • Jan. 12, 2010 5:00 p.m.

By Jasmine Franklin

It seems the message of drinking and driving has gotten through to Ponoka motorists.

Over Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day there were no drunk drivers arrested.

“That’s what we aim for on those holidays,” said Ponoka RCMP Sgt. Glenn Demeare. “Losing someone over the holidays is the worst time.”

Demeare said an officer conducting spot checks along Highway 2A told him it’s getting harder and harder to write tickets in Ponoka, which is exactly what they want to see.

New Year’s Eve party

However, New Year’s Eve saw some other rowdy activity; there were 13 calls that evening alone, four of which were assault calls.

Unrelated specifically to new year’s, two peace officers were assaulted in Ponoka. Damien Cardinal, also wanted on outstanding warrants, was convicted of assault against a police officer Jan. 8 after spitting at Ponoka RCMP Jan. 6. He received 30 days intermittent jail time, to be served on weekends. The second assault against a police officer was also spitting. The accused’s name cannot be released. His court date is set for Feb. 26.

Sometime between Dec. 24 and Jan. 6, two young men were arrested for stealing fuel tanks from a business within town, Demeare said.

“Everyone needs to be sure to lock their gas caps and fuel tanks,” he said. “If there’s something to steal, people will steal it.”

In the courts

On Jan. 29, Dwight Pugh, who RCMP allege struck a 13-year-old girl while he was driving intoxicated, is expected to be enter a plea.

Pugh is alleged to have been driving a white Chevrolet pickup truck on Oct. 22 at about 8 a.m., when he struck the teen from behind as she walked southbound on 38th Street.

The girl was transported to the University of Alberta hospital by STARS air ambulance and was transferred to the Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital where she was released back home Oct. 25 after treatment for a torn spleen.

Pugh has been charged with impaired driving causing bodily harm, dangerous driving causing bodily harm, and operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 80 milligrams per cent.

His first court appearance was Nov. 27 and he remained free on the condition that he not miss a court date. After being absent from his Jan. 8 court appearance, a hold warrant was issued. Although a letter was present in the court room stating Pugh couldn’t make it, it was still considered a breach of conditions. A warrant for his arrest is not issued, but he must attend the next court date.

Attempt to escape the law

A man who was convicted of escaping lawful custody and drunk driving has been released on bail and given hefty fines in addition to jail time but will be back to court Jan. 14 to enter further pleas on separate charges.

George Peigan, 27, father of three children and resident of Hobbema, had “fallen off the wagon” the night he was arrested Dec. 20.

On Jan. 8, court heard the man with past criminal records dating back to 2001, had been sober 2½ years and attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings regularly before being spotted swerving on Highway 2A Dec. 20 at about 1:20 a.m.

Peigan turned into Ponoka’s 7-Eleven when an RCMP officer approached Peigan and smelled alcohol. The accused admitted to having a “couple of beer,” after which the officer asked Peigan to step out of the car. After he stepped out of the vehicle and the officer searched him, he attempted to run away.

After a short chase, Peigan was taken into custody and charged with drunk driving, escaping from lawful custody after being placed under arrest, driving an uninsured motor vehicle on a highway, operating a motor vehicle without an operator’s license, improper use of a license plate, operating an unregistered vehicle and transporting liquor in an open container.

Peigan was found to give a blood alcohol reading of 170 milligrams – more than twice the legal limit. He was released on $500 bail Jan. 8 after being in custody since Dec. 20, and given a $1,500 fine due to his first drinking and driving offence. He was sentenced to 36 to 38 days in jail and also given a one-year driving prohibition.

His record includes numerous convictions for assault, mischief, robbery and a fire-arm prohibition.

Peigan must report to a Ponoka RCMP officer every Friday and is to attend court Jan. 14 to enter a plea on the other charges.

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