Inattention, not deer, cause of crash

An out of town driver was caught fibbing to police and even if it had been true it wouldn’t have helped the situation.

Ucluelet police responded to a single vehicle collision on April 28 around 4 a.m. and Sgt. Jeff Swann responded to the scene about 15 km outside Ucluelet.

The driver, a visitor from Ladysmith, initially claimed to have lost control of their vehicle after swerving to avoid a deer. However no deer were involved; the driver had been focused on their car’s radio rather than the road, according to Swann.

“As a result of my investigation on the scene, as well as speaking to the driver, I determined that the driver was lying to me,” he said.

“When you lie to police you’re just making your problems worse…The message I gave to the driver is I’ve got four children and they know that if you lie you get in more trouble.”

He said the driver eventually came clean and admitted they had not swerved to avoid a deer but had in fact lost control while focusing on their radio.

The driver was charged with driving without due care and attention, which carries a fine of $368.

Even if the driver had swerved to avoid a deer, charges would still have been likely.

“It’s a misnomer that people think it’s ok to swerve for a deer,” Swann said. “Swerving to avoid a deer is something that I’ve heard over my career for the last 18 years as a reason to cause an accident and it’s not.”

He acknowledged that no motorist wants to hit an animal but said putting yourself or other drivers at risk to avoid one is not acceptable.

He added any driver that does swerve to avoid an animal and causes a collision in the process exposes themselves to a broad range of potential charges.

Two vehicles collide on Port Albion A van and a large flatbed pickup truck collided on Port Albion road on April 17.

The vehicles were heading in the opposite direction maneuvering a corner near Sutton Road when the van struck the rear-side of the truck, according to Const. Chris Squire of the Ucluelet RCMP.

He said police were called to the scene around 2 p.m. Constables Marcel Midlane and Jarrett Duncan located both vehicles and found each driver blaming the other for the collision. Squire said the truck suffered minimal damage but the damage to the van was significant.

No charges were laid by police in connection to the incident and the issue of which driver was at fault is now in the hands of ICBC.

“If there’s no injuries and there’s conflicting reports and the evidence might be circumstantial we’ll typically let ICBC sort out the fault issue of it,” said Sgt. Jeff Swann.

“If its something where there’s injuries or it’s more severe, or there’s extenuating circumstances, or there’s more conclusive evidence we can use, then we may lay a charge; in this case we didn’t.”

Impaired driver caught An impaired driver was nabbed after driving out of Ucluelet around midnight on April 17.

Const. Marcel Midlane was on patrol near Petro-Canada when he observed a vehicle traveling over the posted speed limit and heading out of town.

He followed the vehicle for about three km before pulling it over along the Pacific Rim Highway, according to Const. Squire.

Squire said the driver, who was the vehicle’s sole occupant, smelled of alcohol and showed signs of impairment like slurred speech and fumbling for items.

The driver blew into two approved screening devices and failed both before being issued an immediate 90-day driving prohibition, according to Squire.

The vehicle was impounded for 30 days.

Vacation community vandalized Vandals hit the Salmon Beach vacation community sometime between April 18 and April 20.

The Ucluelet RCMP received a report on April 21 alleging vandalism had occurred over the weekend, according to Const. Squire. He said a back gate had been lifted to allow trucks and quads to enter the property and septic tanks were found damaged and screws, lids and handles were missing.

The area is equipped with video surveillance and the footage is currently being reviewed and could be the only evidence police have to work with.

He encourages anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area to contact the Ucluelet RCMP detachment at 250-726-7773.

“Even if they think it’s nothing, give us a call and pass it on.”

Youths nabbed for shoplifting Sgt. Jeff Swann was called to a robbery on April 28 around 11: 30 a.m. He arrived at the scene and located four young wouldbe-shoplifters ranging in age from 6 to 11 years old.

“I had a good chat with all four of the youth,” he said. “There under the age of criminal liability but that doesn’t mean we can’t get parents involved and work with the families and that’s what we did.” He said the youth were remorseful and apologetic and their parents joined police and the store’s staff for “a mini restorative justice hearing” at the location.

“The nice part about small town policing is I knew all four by name. I’ve given all four high fives … I’ve seen them at the school, I’ve interacted with them they all knew me as Officer Jeff,” he said.

“When I walked into the room one of them started crying right away and not out of fear but out of embarrassment because ‘here’s my friend officer Jeff and he’s here because of my actions.'” Swann said it was “a very healthy exchange” and expressed confidence that the four will not shoplift again.

reporter@westerlynews.ca