Swerving in traffic on the Trans Canada Highway and under the mid-Sunday morning sun, it was incredible that the drunken driver of a blue Audi Q5 – a 54-year-old Saanich man – made it as far as he did.
Witnesses reported the man fell asleep, or passed out, during the red lights of multiple intersections only to regain consciousness and drive to another intersection. Responding to calls, Saanich Police eventually pulled him over, said Sgt. Jereme Leslie.
In the 1st 2 weeks of 2019 our #Saanich Traffic Officers attended to over 50 crashes, written over 300 VT's & taken 6 impaired drivers off the road #yyjtraffic #yyj. We’re also looking for witnesses to 2 dangerous events that happened over the weekend. https://t.co/FMfE0QsghY pic.twitter.com/C6SlSzXyq0— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) January 15, 2019
His arrest and subsequent charges are part of an unusually busy January for Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit in which they’ve issued 300-tickets, attended 50 crashes and investigated six impaired driving incidents, Leslie said.
And there are other cases just as extreme.
On Saturday (Jan. 12) around 1:40 p.m. Saanich Police received several 9-1-1 calls about a motorcyclist misbehaving on the Trans Canada Highway.
“Callers informed police the motorcycle was travelling at 200 km/hour, weaving through traffic and doing stunts, such as wheelies,” Leslie said. “Saanich Police traffic officers observed the motorcyclist a short time later travelling north on Highway 17 and later again travelling west on McKenzie Ave.”
The rider was then spotted on McKenzie Avenue but when the rider saw Saanich Police officers he split the lanes of traffic to avoid being stopped, Leslie said.
The motorcycle is described as an orange, or red, racing style bike without a licence plate attached to it. Traffic officers are looking to speak with anyone who observed this motorcycle or may have video of the event (SPD File 19-01002).
In another incident from the past weekend, Saanich Police Traffic officers conducted a high risk driving campaign on Highway 17 near Royal Oak Drive. In less than two hours officers stopped 22 vehicles for exceeding the 80 km/hour speed limit, including one driver who was stopped for travelling 139 km/hour. The driver received a $368 ticket and his vehicle was impounded for seven days.
On January 13, 2019, at around 10:40AM, Saanich Police responded to a report of an impaired driver in the area of the Trans Canada Highway/McKenzie Ave. The vehicle, a blue 2018 Audi Q5, had been swerving in traffic while south on the Trans Canada Highway when the driver appeared to pass out while waiting at a red light at McKenzie Ave. After several light cycles the driver awoke and turned onto McKenzie Ave. The driver then stopped for a red light at the intersection of McKenzie Ave/Burnside Road West where he appeared to pass out again. The driver awoke after several light cycles and continued west on McKenzie Ave. Officers stopped the vehicle and spoke to the driver who was arrested for impaired driving. The driver, a 54 year Saanich man, is facing charges of impaired drinking and driving with a blood alcohol content over 80mg%. After the investigation the driver was released and will appear in court in February. Although Officers have spoken with several witnesses they are looking to speak with additional witnesses who may have actually knocked on the drivers’ window when he was stopped in traffic. (SPD File 19-01067 refers)
As for the heavily impaired driver of the blue Audi Q5, he was pulled over around 10:40 a.m. on Sunday. Initially, Saanich Police responded to a report of an impaired on the Trans Canada Highway approaching the McKenzie Avenue turn off. The driver was reportedly swerving in traffic while traveling south on the TCH when he appeared to pass out while waiting for the red-light left turn onto McKenzie.
After several light cycles the driver awoke and turned onto McKenzie Ave. During this time Saanich Police believe at least one other driver left their vehicle to knock on the window of the Q5 and check on the driver.
Stopped for another red light at the intersection of McKenzie and Burnside Road West, the driver appeared to pass out again. After yet another series of light cycles he awoke and continued west on McKenzie.
Officers stopped the vehicle and arrested the driver for impaired driving. The driver, from Saanich, is facing charges of impaired drinking and driving with a blood alcohol content over 80mg%. After the investigation, the driver was released to appear in court in February.
Officers are looking to speak with additional witnesses who may have actually knocked on the drivers’ window when he was stopped in traffic. (SPD File 19-01067)