Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative
A night in a Plympton-Wyoming hot tub has landed a man in hot water.
Douglas Johnston, 39, appeared by telephone in Sarnia Court Feb. 23 pleading guilty to a drunk driving charge from June. He was discovered by OPP officers pulled over on the side of Oil Heritage Line with his hazards flashing just before 3 am on a Tuesday morning.
Officers approached the vehicle to investigate and found a shirtless man slumped over the steering wheel. Despite repeated knocks on the window, Johnston only groaned and moved slightly.
The officers finally got Johnston’s attention when they shone flashlights in the car. After a minute of fumbling with the handle he managed to open the door.
The officers then asked Johnston for some identification, but he instead leaned back and said “I’m sleeping.”
Officers eventually got Johnston to produce some ID, at which point he slumped into the passenger seat. They asked if he’d been drinking, and Johnston held up both his thumbs while saying he’d had two or three shots while hanging out in a hot tub.
Johnston was arrested and taken to Petrolia OPP where he blew an alcohol reading of .185, more than double the legal limit.
“The Crown’s concern for public safety is that someone got behind the wheel of a vehicle when they essentially couldn’t even speak or walk,” says Crown Attorney Ryan Iaquinta.
“That’s an incredibly aggravating situation.”
Iaquinta asked for a $2,000 fine and one year driving ban. Johnston, representing himself, offered no objection to the proposed punishment.
“It was a completely irresponsible decision that I made,” says Johnston. “I don’t remember a whole lot about that night. I was obviously very impaired.
“I’m adamant this was a one-off thing that’s never going to happen again in my life,” Johnston added. “I’m very glad that nobody was hurt.”
Justice Krista Leszczynski agreed with the proposed sentence, and also approved a victim fine surcharge to bring Johnston’s total fine to $2,600. She said the elevated punishment was appropriate, “Given the aggravating features… specifically the very high readings that you had at the time, as well as the fact that you were essentially unconscious in the vehicle, and after being awoken demonstrated severe impairment.”
“You are lucky that neither you nor anybody else was hurt as a result of your decision to drive on that night,” Leszczynski says.