© Guardian photo
Prince Edward Island provincial court
Drinking and driving is literally a pain in the neck for Danny Thomas Howatt.
He was in provincial court recently before judge Nancy Orr, wearing a neck brace and pleading guilty to drinking and driving on Oct. 19, 2013.
On that day police found him lying on his back on the pavement of the Trans-Canada highway in Cornwall, with firefighters holding his head and wreckage all around.
Just after 11 a.m. he had struck a Toyota Matrix ahead of him, driving it into the ditch.
The driver of that vehicle suffered a sore neck and a scratch on her face, the court was told by Crown prosecutor Jeff MacDonald.
Howatt, 50, was taken to the QEH by ambulance with a police officer on board. Police smelled alcohol around him at the accident scene, said MacDonald.
While in hospital it was determined that Howatt could not give a breath sample so a blood sample was taken from him and sent to an RCMP lab for analysis.
It later came back that at the time of the sample, his blood alcohol level was 220 but at the time of the accident it was likely somewhere between 189 and 226. The legal limit is 80.
Howatt was later transported to a Moncton hospital for an MRI scan.
“You are still suffering from it?” asked Orr of the accident, looking at Howatt in court with the neck brace.
“I have a bruised spinal cord,” said Howatt. “I won’t be making that mistake again.”
Orr said he was lucky to be able to come to court and hear “the sermon,” knowing that such accidents involving impairment can cause much worse injury or death, even to innocent victims.
“I feel quite fortunate, despite (the fact) it doesn’t look like it,” said Howatt.
He had one prior drinking and driving conviction in 1988 so his sentence this time is 15 days in jail, a fine of $1,500, a payment to the victims of crime fund of $450 and one year ban on driving.