Three strikes and out of a licence

·2 min read

A Middlesex man’s third DUI conviction will take him off the road for the next two years.

Joseph O’Rourke, 54 from Kerwood, plead guilty in Sarnia Court to driving while more than double the legal alcohol limit at 11 in the morning. He complicated his position by fleeing police when they attempted to stop him.

It was Aug. 30, 2020 when police received complaints of an erratic driver approaching Forest. He appeared drunk and had vomited on himself.

As O’Rourke entered town a waiting OPP car activated its lights and attempted to pull over the maroon Ford pickup. But O’Rourke had other ideas and sped away before suddenly turning into a laneway on Townsend Line.

Police watched him running around backyards before realizing he wasn’t going to give himself up willingly. After a brief foot chase they managed to track down O’Rourke and arrest him.

A heavy smell of alcohol, glossy eyes and unsteadiness was noted. If that weren’t enough O’Rourke’s inebriation was certainly confirmed by the nine empty Busch beer bottles in his truck. During tests back at the OPP station he blew a blood alcohol reading of .179.

A joint submission of a $2,000 fine for the drunk driving and a six month conditional sentence for fleeing police was accepted by Justice Krista Leszczynski. O’Rourke also receives a two year driving ban.

“The fact that you have been convicted of similar offences in the past, although there is a gap, is still a serious concern to this court. You have repeated that mistake, not just once or twice, and are back before the court having committed the same offence,” says Leszczynski.

“Also aggravating is the fact that your readings are very high and the time of day of this offence, in the middle of the day when one would expect there would be more people on the roadway. As well, obviously your conduct following the stop by the police,” she adds.

Leszczynski says O’Rourke’s total punishment is more “significant and severe… because of the all too often tragic consequences that flow from drinking and driving that we are all familiar with in this particular community and across the country.”

“I’m remorseful for what I’ve done. I’m sorry,” says O’Rourke.

The first four months of the conditional sentence will be served under house arrest and the final two under curfew. O’Rourke must take counselling for alcohol abuse and can’t have any alcohol during the sentence. He’ll continue the counselling during his year of probation.

Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent

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