Stephen Moyse considered himself a pretty good driver as well as a well-spoken history buff who lectured visitors as he drove a Victoria tour bus.
But last December the 61-year-old’s near-perfect driving record as well as his reputation took huge hits when he was pulled over for impaired driving in Campbell River.
“I am so embarrassed about putting my society through this,” Moyse told Judge Peter Doherty on Monday in Campbell River provincial court.
Around the province, Moyse was just one of 12,923 impaired drivers who were stopped last year by members of Alexa’s Team. From the Campbell River RCMP detachment, 10 officers were recognized last Thursday for making it to Alexa’s Team.
Named in the memory of Alexa Middelaer, a four-and-a-half-year-old who was killed by an impaired driver in 2008, Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members to 355 officers from all corners B.C.
To be nominated for Alexa’s Team, officers must have removed at least 12 impaired drivers from the road in the previous calendar year. In Campbell River, including North Island Traffic Services, the members of Alexa’s Team include constables Ross Polsky, Jason Jewkes, Dave Dormuth, Mark Blacklock, Glenn Price, Jeff Campbell, Norm Weihs, Steve Wells, Travis Draper and Bill McSeveney.
In the case of Moyse, he was spotted heavily intoxicated at a local restaurant and then seen getting into his vehicle and driving away. A call to 911 altered Mounties who found him behind the wheel and parked at Discovery Harbour Mall.
An open bottle of white wine was found in the vehicle and Moyse admitted to the officer he had, “drank too much.” Moyse was arrested, taken into custody, his vehicle towed and impounded.
At the RCMP detachment, he provided two breath samples, both reading .240 – more than three times over the legal limit.
“You need to sit down and take a good look at yourself, sir,” said Judge Doherty after hearing the case.
The veteran judge, who’s heard just about every drunk driving story, said he’s always concerned when impaired motorists provide such high blood-alcohol readings. It’s usually a sign, he indicated, of greater alcohol troubles.
Moyse explained he started drinking heavily in 2008 following a personal tragedy and after he was no longer able to drive a tour bus after suffering heart attacks. He now lives on Cortes Island and has friends who can provide him with rides. Judge Doherty suggested Moyse should start attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
“Yes I should,” replied Moyse, who said one of the members calls him daily and has also expressed concern about his drinking.
In addition to the mandatory one-year driving prohibition and $1,000 fine for an impaired conviction, the judge also placed Moyse on one year of probation. He did so because the blood-alcohol reading was so high and probation would provide other opportunities for Moyse to get help and counselling.
But Moyse was just one of 257 drivers pulled over last year in Campbell River for impaired driving or blowing a “warn” on a roadside screening device.