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Port Alberni RCMP issue warning about impaired driving after multiple crashes

Car crashes into the front of Canadian Tire store in north end of city

A series of motor vehicle crashes over the weekend, including one car that crashed into the front of Canadian Tire, has prompted a warning about the dangers of driving under the influence from the Port Alberni RCMP.

On the evening of Sunday, Nov. 26, the Port Alberni RCMP detachment responded to a vehicle that had driven into the front of Canadian Tire in what officers suspect was a case of drug-impaired driving. After performing “poorly” at a sobriety test, the driver, a man in his 20s, was arrested for impaired operation of a motor vehicle. He has been served a driving prohibition and his vehicle was impounded. The man will appear in court in 2024, according to RCMP.

As of Monday morning, the Canadian Tire location had re-opened, although the main exit is still damaged and patrons are required to use the automotive centre exit instead. No one from Canadian Tire was immediately available to comment on the incident.

READ: Pedestrian struck in Port Alberni crosswalk airlifted to hospital

The crash at Canadian Tire was just one of four traffic-related reports the RCMP responded to on Sunday night, three of which resulted in vehicles being impounded. First, officers caught a vehicle travelling 97 km/h in a 50 km/h zone on Stamp Avenue. The driver was issued a fine for excessive speed and the vehicle was impounded for seven days.

Just minutes after the Canadian Tire crash, another car struck a parked vehicle in the 3100 block of Ninth Avenue. Officers conducted an on-scene blood alcohol test, which the driver failed. The driver, a woman in her 40s, was issued a 90-day driving prohibition and her vehicle was impounded for 30 days. She also faces administrative fines from ICBC.

Lastly, RCMP officers were dispatched to a female that had been struck by a vehicle on the Redford Street extension. This took place just days after another pedestrian was struck in a crosswalk on Redford Street and airlifted to a trauma centre. This time, the pedestrian sustained only minor injuries, but the suspect vehicle fled the scene without checking on her.

The suspect vehicle is described as a smaller car that was being followed by a white SUV. According to RCMP, witnesses believed these were two vehicles that may have known each other, as they both left the scene together. Anyone with information about the collision is asked to call the Port Alberni RCMP detachment at 250-723-2424.

Port Alberni RCMP Cst. Richard Johns says it’s “extremely concerning” to see this behaviour from so many different drivers in such a short period of time.

“Impaired driving laws are nothing new,” he added. “If you have consumed liquor, cannabis or other recreational drugs do not get behind the wheel.”