A grief-stricken Woodridge woman who got behind the wheel after drinking two glasses of wine will have to manage for a year without a driver’s licence.
Esther Toews, 50, will also have a criminal record after pleading guilty to impaired driving before Judge Larry Allen in Steinbach provincial court last Thursday.
She was given 13 months to pay a fine of $1,300 and banned from driving for one year.
Sprague RCMP were called to the scene of a single vehicle rollover north of Woodridge on Provincial Road 210 at 8:05 p.m. on Aug. 13 of last year.
Crown attorney Inderjit Singh said Toews was headed to Steinbach to do some shopping when her Dodge Caliber drifted onto the shoulder and went into a slide. The hatchback rolled two and a half times, coming to rest on the roof.
"Fortunately nobody was injured, fortunately there were no other vehicles that were impacted," Singh said. "But at the end of the day, quite frankly, she should be thankful that she survived."
Defence lawyer John Corona agreed.
"She was wearing her seatbelt, and that literally saved her life."
Toews told police she had two glasses of wine before hitting the road. Her blood alcohol level was found to be .11, less than one and a half times the legal limit.
Toews explained she had been drinking "a lot" since her fiancé died some months earlier. The day before the accident, his dog also died, compounding her grief.
"I just had a complete emotional breakdown," she told the judge.
"I don’t doubt for a minute that this won’t happen again," Allen said.
He urged Toews to resist the temptation to drive over the next year. He said driving bans are hardest to follow in areas without public transit, but ignoring one can result in up to five years in jail.
"Don’t do it—it’s not worth the hassle."