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‘Alarming’ increase in drug-impaired driving, Penticton RCMP say

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Penticton RCMP are hoping to put the brakes on drug-impaired driving by shining a spotlight on four recent cases that resulted in recommended charges and vehicle impoundments.

Officers charged four drivers with being impaired in January alone, Const. James Grandy said.

On Jan. 21, an officer stopped a vehicle as it passed him driving more than 150 kilometres per hour on Highway 97 near Summerland.

Read more: RCMP clock allegedly impaired driver at 160 km/h near Vernon, B.C.

The officer suspected the driver was under the influence of a drug and called in a specially trained drug recognition officer.

“After extensive road-side testing, the driver was found to be impaired by drugs,” Grandy said in a press release.

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The driver’s vehicle was impounded and charges were recommended to the BC Prosecution Service.

On Jan. 23, a police officer stopped a suspicious vehicle on Fairview Avenue.

“During the initial interaction with the driver, his body language, along with other evidence, suggested he may be impaired by a drug,” Grandy wrote.

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Subsequent to a specially trained drug recognition officer’s testing, the driver was found to be impaired by a drug.

The 55-year-old driver was arrested and his vehicle impounded.

On Jan. 26, a 33-year-old woman was reported to be passed out behind the wheel of her vehicle on Leir Street.

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Prior to officers arriving, she erratically drove away, police said.

Officers managed to locate the stopped vehicle along Carmi Avenue.

“After interacting with the woman, she exhibited signs of being impaired by drugs. This was confirmed with further testing by a trained officer,” Grandy stated.

Read more: Public tip leads police to alleged impaired driver, Vernon RCMP say

Charges of impaired operation of a motor vehicle were forwarded to the BC Prosecution Service

Lastly, on Jan. 29, officers investigating a suspicious vehicle near Orchard Avenue came across a driver backed into a parking lot while inhaling a suspected drug in his running vehicle.

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The driver was arrested and his vehicle was impounded.

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Charges against the 32-year-old Penticton resident included possessing a controlled substance and driving while being impaired by a drug, police said.

“It’s very concerning to see this alarming increase in people getting behind the wheel while impaired by substances,” Grandy said.

“These particular cases highlight a significant concern for all who share the road. We want to stress to those who use recreational drugs, including marijuana, not to use them and drive in our communities.”

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