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Driver charged with impaired driving claims to have been sleeping

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When it comes to the law, things are seldom black and white. No matter how plain a matter may seem to be, sometimes there’s an unlikely explanation that comes to light during a case.  For one man a late night in Toronto led to a tragic incidence of impaired driving with a potentially bizarre twist.

On June 20, 2014 a 41-year old Alliston worker was struck by a vehicle and killed as he painted lines on a city street. A woman at the scene was also hit by the vehicle, but recovered from her injuries. The vehicle was alleged to have been speeding through the area and did not remain at the accident site.

Police were able to track the vehicle, a pick up truck, to the home of a 33-year old man. The man answered the knock on his door at 5:15 a.m., about two hours after the accident, at which time officers informed him he had killed a man. Police alleged the man appeared impaired in some way, and that he was speechless when told what had happened.

The court heard the accused had been out at a concert in Toronto with friends that night, and had also been at a bar after the concert. Drinking occurred at both locations, a fact agreed upon by both the prosecution and the  defence. The accused was a passenger in his own vehicle on the return trip to Alliston, but drove home after parting company with his companions. Though blood tests showed a significant quantity of alcohol in his system, his lawyer claims the man had been drinking after getting home, and was in fact asleep at the wheel at the time of the accident, a rare condition known as somnambulism.

The events of that night were a tragedy, though the circumstances may not be exactly as they seem. To prove such an unusual occurrence will not be easy. For any individual charged with impaired driving, a good defence attorney may be the key to showing the court a different point of view of events.

Source: Toronto Sun, “Driver was sleeping, not drunk, when road worker killed, defence says“, Tracy Mclaughin, Sept. 12, 2016

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