Driver of destroyed SUV loses license; lucky to be alive

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A teen driver heard he and his friend are lucky to have walked away from a rollover accident that totalled his SUV.

Nicholas Lapointe, 19, was in Sarnia Court on Sept. 15 to plead guilty to a drunk driving charge.

The accident took place four months earlier when Lapointe crashed his SUV into a ditch on Churchill Line after a night of drinking.

“It’s extremely fortunate that you and your passenger walked away from that rollover – where the car was totalled – unharmed and without serious injuries or death,” says Justice Deborah Austin.

Court heard that shortly after 5 am on May 16 police were called after a vehicle went off the road on Churchill Line, west of Mandaumin Rd. The SUV travelled more than 100 meters after leaving the road.

Two men were found standing outside the SUV.

Lapointe identified himself as the driver and took a breathalyzer test which he failed. He was checked for injuries and taken to the police station where he blew a .12 blood alcohol reading.

“It is by sheer luck no one was hurt,” says Crown attorney Sarah Carmody. A joint position between the Crown and defense called for a $1,200 fine and one year driving ban.

“Impaired driving is an incredibly dangerous activity, it is a scourge in our community and across Canada, and the message needs to be sent that these types of offenses are not to be tolerated,” says Carmody.

Defense lawyer Nick Cake says that his client made a poor decision and is paying for it heavily.

“Mr. Lapointe and his friends had been drinking some casual beers that evening and he made the very foolish and horrible mistake of offering his friends a ride home,” says Cake.

“Thankfully no one was injured. Lessons were learned, unfortunately in a very difficult way.”

Cake says the incident has set Lapointe back, but that he is eager to move past it. “He is a young man who has totalled his car, and has to pay for that now with the criminal conviction,” Cake says.

“He’s also had to find rides to work and essentially at 19 years of age is back to relying on others when you’re just starting out in life and should be able to rely upon yourself.” “He’s very remorseful for what happened. He is a driven individual and he doesn’t want to let this delay him anymore than it already has,” Cake says.

Lapointe says his actions won’t be repeated.

“I’d just like to say that I’m really sorry. I know I made a big mistake and I can assure you that it won’t happen again. I learned my lesson, and it was a pretty hard one to learn.”

Austin was encouraged Lapointe seemed to have grown from the experience.

“Hopefully this is something that you will never forget, and will ensure that never again will we see you in a criminal court facing a charge like this because you’ll never do anything that risks your safety or that of others.”

“It sounds like you’re working hard, you have some really good career plans and prospects, and we hope that you are able to achieve them,” Austin says.