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'Toxic readings' - Man five times over limit drives on P.E.I.

FILE PHOTO: Inside a Provincial Court room in Charlottetown.  ©THE GUARDIAN
FILE PHOTO: Inside a Provincial Court room in Charlottetown. ©THE GUARDIAN - file photo

A P.E.I. man who passed out while driving and who had a blood alcohol level around five times the legal limit was sentenced recently to 30 days in jail.

Harold Lloyd Palmer, 55, appeared before Chief Judge Nancy Orr in provincial court in Charlottetown after previously pleading guilty to driving drunk.

Before sentencing Palmer, Orr said there are a lot of people who don’t survive blood alcohol levels as high as he had.

“Those are extremely, extremely toxic readings,” she said.

Palmer was driving on July 4 when he passed out and his vehicle went in a ditch.

Blood samples taken at the hospital showed his blood alcohol level was in a range of about five to more than 5.5 times the legal limit.

A responding officer said they had never seen someone as impaired as Palmer was.

In his submissions, Crown attorney Jeff MacDonald said it could have been equally as likely that when Palmer passed out he would have swerved into opposing traffic.

Nobody could ever be in control of a motor vehicle with Palmer’s blood alcohol level, MacDonald said.

Palmer also had a prior drunk driving-related conviction.

Defence lawyer Yolande Murphy said Palmer has been living in Talbot House, which is an addiction rehabilitation facility, and has been making progress with his addiction issues.

Palmer feels lucky no one was hurt, Murphy said.

Along with the jail time, which Palmer will serve on weekends so he can continue his treatment, he must perform 150 hours of community service or pay $10 for every hour not performed.

Palmer is banned from driving for two years and must pay a $100 victim surcharge.

Before Palmer left the courtroom, Orr told him to make sure he keeps up with efforts to deal with his addiction issues.

“It’s a big hurdle, but it’s certainly one that can be overcome,” she said.

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