The potentially lethal mix of alcohol and distracted driving ended with a wrecked car, probation, a fine, a driving prohibition and a criminal record for a Red Deer hair stylist.
Crown prosecutor John Baharustani said in Red Deer provincial court on Tuesday that members of the Red Deer City RCMP were on foot patrol in West Park at 3:15 a.m. on June 14 when they heard a crash.
They rushed to the scene and found a car flipped onto its roof and a woman climbing out of a window on the driver’s side, said Baharustani.
She told the approaching officers: “I’ve been drinking. I’m going to run away,” he said.
She then told them that she had been using the phone and didn’t know what happened.
She was arrested and taken to the detachment, where tests measured her blood alcohol content at .17, just over double the legal limit.
Larissa Dee Anderson, 21, was charged with impaired driving, dangerous driving and driving while the alcohol content in her bloodstream exceeded the legal limit of .08.
Represented by defence counsel Kevin Sproule, Anderson pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the .08 charge. The remaining charges were withdrawn.
Sproule said his client could not believe that she would make a conscious decision to drive drunk and asked for independent tests to determine if something had been dropped into her drink.
However, the blood tests did not reveal any drugs that would cause her to lose consciousness, said Sproule.
He then told the court that his client is already seeking help to deal with her actions and has been seeing a psychologist.
“She is certainly concerned about what might have happened to her that night,” said Sproule.
Baharustani said the fact that Anderson was distracted while driving drunk was an aggravating factor in the sentence he sought. He asked for 12 to 18 months of probation, including an order that Anderson abstain from alcohol, along with a fine and the mandatory driving suspension of one year.
Looking at factors including an early guilty plea and her co-operation with police, Judge Gordon Yake sentenced Anderson to six months probation and ordered that she pay a fine of $1,500, plus a victims of crime surcharge of 15 per cent.
He said the probation order would give her access to programs that might not be available otherwise.
He did not prohibit her from drinking.
“That’s up to you. If you want to stop drinking, you’ll stop drinking,” he said.