An Inuvik man who was caught behind the wheel three times over the legal blood alcohol limit lost his driving privileges for a year and a half and will pay several thousand dollars in fines.

In Inuvik Territorial Court Nov. 19, Ricky Thrasher, 34, pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol over .08. The Judge Bernadette Schmaltz barred him from driving for 18 months and fined him $3,000. This is Thrasher’s third impaired driving offence, with two others dating back to 2005 and 2007.

“I take full responsibility,” said Thrasher in his defence. “I realize when I drink behind the wheel, myself and everyone in the community is in danger. I am sorry for that.”

Provincial Crown Angie Paquin told court RCMP got a call Aug. 9 at 10:24 a.m. about a black dodge truck driving erratically around town. After a patrol, police could not turn up the suspect vehicle. They then got another call at 11:32 a.m. This time they were told Thrasher was driving someone else’s truck.

On their second patrol, RCMP came across a vehicle matching the description being driven by Thrasher pass them on Navy Road. Police turned around and followed him around town, noticing the driver side mirror was folded in.

Eventually police followed him home and saw him exit from the driver side door. When police called him over, he denied he had been drinking. He smelled of liquor, was slurring his voice and had droopy eyes. The officer put him through a roadside test, which he failed, and took him back to the detachment where he gave two breath samples, the first coming in at a .29 per cent blood alcohol content and the second at .27.

“It’s always impressive to see people walking with readings like that,” said Paquin. “People can die with that much alcohol in their system.”

Defence lawyer Lance McLean said Thrasher had struggled with alcohol most of his adult life, but has been sober since the charge. He had since began counselling sessions and was working to get into the Poundmaker Treatment Program in Edmonton.

“Mr. Thrasher, you were over three times the legal limit,” said Judge Schmaltz in her decision. “The one thing you shouldn’t be doing is driving. You’re driving around so intoxicated, the list of tragic things that could have happened would be lengthy.

“Nobody is addicted to driving. If you’re going to drink, don’t drive.”

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