Parked and passed out twice

·2 min read

A Sarnia man who just couldn’t stay awake behind the wheel has been fined heavily.

Ryan Swartz, 38, wasn’t tired though. On each occasion he was so high on drugs he could barely function, much less operate a vehicle.

“I’m very apologetic for the situation that’s happened. It was a bad time in my life that I’ve put behind me,” says Swartz in court Mar. 15.

Sept. 4, 2019 Swartz was found passed out in a truck on Warwick Village Road. A bystander became concerned after he hadn’t moved for two hours.

Police arrived and found Swartz confused, disoriented and sweating profusely. He was treated for high heart rate and blood pressure and taken to Petrolia OPP detachment. Drug testing revealed a stimulant in his system.

Five months later, Swartz was found passed out behind the wheel of a truck again, this time by the YMCA on Oakdale Ave. in Sarnia. Witnesses called police after finding an unresponsive man inside.

When officers arrived a strange argument ensued. Swartz was asked to roll down his window, he responded that it was. When officers demonstrated that it was clearly up, Swartz again insisted that it was down.

The officers had enough and shattered the window. Swartz was dragged out of the truck and arrested. White powder was found in the truck, and a drug test at the Sarnia Police station found cocaine and other drugs in his body.

“Clearly there was a period in his life where cocaine had won the battle,” says Defence Lawyer Nick Cake. He showed Swartz has since taken several counselling programs to address addiction issues.

“He’s realized he had an issue with the substances, he’s gone out and he has taken matters into his own hands,” says Cake. “If our concern is substance abuse coupled with the operation of motor vehicles… we have eliminated those two things.”

Justice Anne McFadyen imposed a one year driving ban on Swartz. In addition he’s fined $3,000, but McFadyen decided Swartz’s rehabilitation efforts since last year were enough to avoid a probation term.

Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent