The judge called it one of the worst cases of drunk driving he’s even heard.
It was also incredible, said Judge Peter Doherty, that Daniel McKay didn’t cause an accident during a drunken escapade on May 20, 2010, on the Inland Island Highway south of Courtenay.
“It’s astonishing that by the grace God someone wasn’t seriously maimed or killed,” the judge said.
McKay, 50, of Gold River appeared in Campbell River provincial court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to impaired driving – his fifth drunk driving conviction – driving while prohibited and refusing to provide a breath sample during another impaired driving episode which occurred in Gold River.
Judge Doherty called McKay a five-time loser and wondered aloud how many other times he’s driven drunk and wasn’t caught.
According to Crown prosecutor David Fitzsimmons, on Feb. 18, 2010, McKay was seen by an RCMP officer staggering towards his vehicle in Gold River. McKay then got behind the wheel and proceeded to drive and weave slowly through the West Coast town.
When he was pulled over by the officer, McKay refused to provide a breath sample, but acknowledged that he was probably too drunk to drive and had consumed far too much alcohol the night before.
The situation was far worse three months later when McKay’s vehicle was seen weaving on the Inland Island Highway, south of Courtenay.
It was 6:30 a.m., when the driver behind McKay realized something was wrong. When McKay pulled over, the other man got out of his vehicle, approached, and noticed a strong odour of liquor coming from McKay’s vehicle.
The man turned off McKay’s vehicle, took away the keys and headed back to his own vehicle to call police. Just as he was doing so, McKay restarted his vehicle and sped off.
The other man continued to follow and relayed directions to RCMP. He also put on his hazard lights and tried to warn other motorists to stay away from McKay.
As McKay headed south, his vehicle weaved across the double lanes. At one point, he crossed into the northbound lanes and began driving south.
Finally, around the Cook Creek area, McKay’s vehicle became stuck in a ditch and that’s when other motorists stopped him again, this time for good.
About the same time, officers arrived and arrested McKay who promptly fell asleep in the back of the police cruiser. When they arrived at the Courtenay RCMP detachment, McKay thought he was at home in Gold River.
He could barely walk inside the detachment and his blood alcohol readings came in at .280 and .290, three-and-a-half times above the legal limit.
Fitzsimmons asked the judge to impose a three-month jail sentence along with a two-year driving prohibition and fines totaling $2,270. Defence lawyer said the sentence was reasonable, but asked that McKay serve the sentence on weekends in Nanaimo.
Judge Doherty went ahead with the sentencing recommendation, but refused to allow McKay to serve the jail sentence on weekends. He also asked if McKay was doing anything to cure his alcoholism.
“I’m trying to control it,” McKay replied.
Judge Doherty could only shake his head in wonder, “Still drinking,” he said with a heavy sigh.