Relapse led to drunken St. Clair car crash says lawyer

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Blake Ellis/Local Journalism Initiative

“I am terribly embarrassed and very sorry.”

Those words from a a 64 year-old Sarnia man in court, Feb. 9 as he plead guilty to impaired driving.

“I am just trying to get back to where I was before and continue on with my sobriety.”

Robert Hyde crashed his vehicle July 16 along Smith Line in St. Clair Township near Sombra.

A resident called police after he was seen falling down while he walked along the road. Once he was arrested and paramedics arrived, he was yelling, swearing and making threats.

At one point, he told police, “I guarantee when I get out of these cuffs, you will be nothing.” 

Hyde did not remember what had occurred once he was sober. He was shocked and embarrassed about his behaviour. After being released, he returned to the police station and apologized to the officer he had yelled at during his drunken rage. 

Hyde – a long time alcoholic – lapsed during the pandemic. Defence lawyer Damon Hardy said the combination of anxiety, depression and COVID-19 restrictions resulted in some of his worst drinking.

“He couldn’t drink enough of it and he couldn’t drink it fast enough,” Hardy told the court.

Judge Krista Leszczynski called his case troubling because the blood alcohol readings were three times the legal limit.  Hyde was given a $2,500 fine and his drivers’ license was suspended for a year.