A Charlotte County fisherman says he wasn't on drugs on the night of Aug. 18, but rather "overtired" after working for more than 20 hours before consuming between seven and nine beers, in a drunk driving case characterized as "peculiar" by Crown attorney Chris Titus.
Landon Shane David Watson, 19, of Main Street in St. George, has pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level higher than the legal limit in August 2022.
According to the facts of the case, Watson was found "unresponsive" shortly after 12 a.m. that summer night, sitting in his vehicle on Mount Pleasant Road in Upper Letang, close to the local RCMP detachment.
He was the sole occupant of the vehicle, Titus said, and was found slumped over in his seat, holding his cellphone. Beer cans littered his vehicle, Titus added.
Titus told the court police officers described Watson as "totally out of it."
Then his car began to move forward, eventually rolling into the ditch, court heard.
"Watson had no significant idea the vehicle was moving, or the risk to himself or other drivers," Titus said.
Blood alcohol content tests showed Watson had between 110 and 120 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
Court heard the police officer at the scene indicated "clearly, he was also on another drug or medication," because Watson's level of impairment was "well above and beyond" what the reading indicated.
Watson said he agreed with the facts of the case but took issue with the characterization of him being on drugs as well as drinking.
"I don't understand why he'd say I was under the influence of drugs," Watson said. "I don't understand. I was never tested."
Judge Kelly Ann Winchester said she believed Watson wasn't on drugs, but rather drunk and exhausted.
"I don't even drink," Watson insisted, prompting a chuckle from the judge.
Watson's defence lawyer Wes McIntosh said Watson's lack of a drinking habit could have contributed to how intoxicated he was that night, especially when coupled with exhaustion.
"He's not a drinker," his lawyer said. "It'll be easy for him to not drink in the future."
McIntosh also noted Watson's car was in idle when it landed in the ditch.
"It wasn't a high-speed crash," he said. "It's still dangerous, obviously, but he didn't have his foot on the gas. It was just rolling into a ditch."
McIntosh said Watson was "embarrassed" by the entire situation.
Watson's license was suspended for 12 months, and he was fined $1,000.
Marlo Glass, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal