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Man jailed for driving ride-on lawnmower while impaired

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BRANDON -- A man with a history of drunk driving has been jailed for driving a ride-on lawnmower along a city street while impaired.

The man mistakenly believed that impaired- driving laws don't apply to riding lawnmowers, court heard.

Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta, however, said the issue wasn't what the offender was driving, but where he was driving the mower.

"You weren't cutting your grass, you were using it to get yourself to the store," Hewitt-Michta told 73-year-old Frank Wilhelm Mrkvicka during sentencing in Brandon court on Monday.

Crown attorney Garry Rainnie said a witness called police on Sept. 3 to report an impaired driver. Police arrived to find the driver, Mrkvicka, near the lawnmower, which was now parked. A witness told police she'd seen Mrkvicka driving the machine.

Mrkvicka -- who smelled of alcohol, and was unsteady on his feet -- had an explanation.

"He indicated that he was going to get cigarettes," Rainnie said.

Mrkvicka was found to have a blood-alcohol level about three times the legal limit.

With six previous impaired-driving convictions, he faced a minimum sentence of 120 days in jail for his lawnmower ride.

Citing the high alcohol readings, Hewitt-Michta sentenced Mrkvicka to 150 days in jail and banned him from driving for life.

Brandon Sun

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