Woman blames new diet for drunken ride

·2 min read

A Sarnia woman’s lawyer says her switch to the keto diet was behind her inflated blood alcohol readings behind the wheel.

But Justice Anne McFadyen didn’t find the excuse digestible.

McFadyen handed an elevated fine of $1,800 to Hannah Pyne for drunk driving. McFadyen listed several aggravating factors as Pyne, 31, appeared in Sarnia Court Mar. 8.

One of these was the fact that Nov. 27 last year, Pyne had not one, but two encounters with police on the night in question. The first came when Pyne and a friend were found walking around downtown intoxicated. But they said they were heading home by foot and carried on.

Shortly after though, the same officer saw a white Chrysler minivan driving erratically nearby. The van was followed as it swerved over the centre line of George St. and struck the curb. When the officer finally pulled the van over on Maria St., he discovered the same pair from earlier in the night.

Pyne’s Defence Lawyer David Stoesser, offered a unique reason for his client’s behavior.

“In the months preceding this incident Hannah had undertaken a keto diet,” says Stoesser. He says Pyne was out celebrating the other woman’s birthday, and “this was her first time consuming alcohol since going on that diet. The impact, you heard from the readings, was more significant than Hannah anticipated.” Stoesser asked for a $1,500 fine.

But Crown Attorney Aniko Coughlan says this doesn’t excuse the behavior. “Regardless of whatever eating plan she might have been on, that’s a significant amount of alcohol that was in someone’s system.”

Pyne’s blood alcohol readings that night hit .190, well over double the legal limit.

“Regarding whatever health matters she was taking on for her own, she put herself in that situation,” says Coughlan. “I would ask that the court not consider that as any mitigating circumstance.” The Crown requested a penalty in the $2,000-$2,200 range.

McFadyen wouldn’t rule that high, but still sided closer to the Crown than defence. She cited “the erratic driving… as well as readings that are quite excessive,” in choosing the higher $1,800 fine.

Pyne is also banned from driving for a year, but can apply for the ignition interlock program after three months.

Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent