OPP announce over 130 impaired driving charges, two in Lennox and Addington

Photo by Logan Cadue/Kingstonist.

 At a time of year when the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) traditionally ramp up impaired driving enforcement, the 2023 holiday season proved the need for this increased surveillance.

The provincial police force ran its Festive Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) program from Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, to Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, with over 1,500 RIDE checkpoints operated across Ontario, according to the OPP. Initial results from these operations indicate that officers arrested and charged 134 people with impaired driving, as well as 37 motorists being issued driver’s licence suspensions after they registered in the warning range on an approved roadside screening device, which detects the presence of alcohol on the breath.

“Impaired drivers are a danger to everyone on the roads, including themselves, their passengers, other drivers, and even pedestrians.” Said Inspector Walid Kandar, the OPP’s East Region Traffic and Marine Manager.

Meanwhile, the Lennox and Addington (L&A) County Detachment of the OPP reported two drivers were removed from the roads within the County due to impaired driving leading up to the New Year’s Eve countdown.

According to police, just after 1 a.m. on the day of New Year’s Eve (Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023), L&A OPP officers on patrol “noticed a possible impaired driver,” who was subsequently stopped by police on County Road 2 (Highway 2) just west of County Road 4. When officers administered an approved roadside screening device, the female driver – who was the lone person in the vehicle – received a “fail reading.” The driver was transported to the L&A OPP Detachment for further testing, police said.

As a result, 24-year-old Kaitlin Nearing of Joyceville was charged with:

  • Operation of a motor vehicle while impaired – alcohol and drugs
  • Operation of a motor vehicle while impaired – blood alcohol concentration exceeding the legal limit

Nearing was released on an undertaking and is scheduled appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Napanee later this month. Additionally, the accused driver had her driver’s licence automatically suspended for 90 days, and her vehicle was impounded for seven days. If convicted, Nearing will face further licence suspension. She is also responsible for all related towing and/or impoundment fees/fines.

Later in the day, just half an hour before the ringing in of 2024, officers noticed a second possible impaired driver. According to a press release from the L&A OPP, this incident occurred in Loyalist Township shortly after 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, and the driver was stopped by police on Amherst Drive near Golf Club Road.

“The vehicle turned into a residential complex area and a male passenger fled,” the OPP said.

The female driver of the vehicle was administered an approved roadside screening device test, which she failed. The driver was subsequently arrested and transported to the L&A OPP Detachment for further testing, police said, noting that the male passenger from the vehicle was located a short time later and arrested.

As a result, the driver of the vehicle, 25-year-old Emily McComb of Sydenham, was charged with:

  • Operation of a motor vehicle while impaired – alcohol and drugs
  • Operation of a motor vehicle while impaired – blood alcohol concentration exceeding the legal limit
  • Failure to comply with an undertaking

McComb was held for a bail hearing and is now scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Napanee at a later date, according to the OPP. Additionally, the McComb’s driver’s licence was automatically suspended for 90 days, and her vehicle was impounded for seven days. If convicted, McComb will face further licence suspension, and she will be responsible for all fees/fines related to the towing/impounding of her vehicle.

In addition, the passenger who fled the vehicle, 27-year-old Jesse Barnes of Amherstview, was charged with:

  • Four counts of failure to comply with an undertaking
  • Resisting a peace officer

Barnes was held for a bail hearing and is now scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Napanee at a later date, police detailed.

The OPP is emphasizing that, despite being preventable, impaired driving is the number one cause of criminal death in Canada.

“By calling 911 and reporting suspected impaired drivers to police, all Canadians can play a role in keeping our roads, trails and waterways safe and in reducing impaired driving crashes, deaths and injuries,” the OPP said.

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