Local Journalism Initiative
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 a fine of $1,800 to Hannah Pyne for drunk driving. McFadyen listed several aggravating factors as Pyne, 31, appeared in Sarnia Court Mar. 8. Pyne had not one, but two encounters with police Nov. 27. The first came when Pyne and a friend were found walking around downtown intoxicated. They said they were heading home by foot and carried on.
Shortly after, the same officer saw a white Chrysler minivan driving erratically nearby. The van swerved over the centre line of George St. and struck the curb. When the officer pulled the van over on Maria St., he discovered the same pair. Pyne’s blood alcohol readings that night hit .190, well over double the legal limit.
Her 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. 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.”
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.”
“Regarding whatever health matters she was taking on for her own, she put herself in that situation,” says Coughlan.
McFadyen cited “the erratic driving… as well as readings that are quite excessive,” in choosing the higher than average $1,800 fine.
Pyne is also banned from driving for a year, but can apply for the ignition interlock program after three months.