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A man caught behind the wheel intoxicated four times in one year was coping with his children being taken away

In Inuvik Territorial Court Oct. 28 Samuel Raddi pleaded guilty to three counts of having a blood alcohol level over 0.08 per cent and one count of refusing a breathalyser. Judge Garth Malakoe fined him $5,000 and barred him from driving for thirty three months.

“When you drink and you get behind the wheel, it’s like putting a bullet in a revolver and playing Russian roulette,” said Malakoe in his judgment. “In this case you put four bullets in the revolver.

“You should consider yourself lucky that you’re in front of the court intact and not facing more serious charges. The next time, if there is a next time, you will go to jail.”

Noting Raddi had no prior impaired driving convictions; crown prosecutor Matthew Scott told court that on March 12, 2020, police received a complaint from an acquaintance of the man that he had driven off drunk.

Police tracked down the vehicle, and watched it drive onto the shoulder of the road and then through a yield sign without slowing down. Police pulled the vehicle over and observed Raddi had bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol.

He was arrested and taken to the Inuvik detachment. When police asked him to provide a breath sample, he refused. Police informed him he would be charged if he refused, but that didn’t change his mind. He was then put in a cell for the night.

Then, Scott said, on May 9, police responded to a report of an impaired driver and pulled Raddi over. He had a strong odour of liquor, slurred speech and glazed eyes. Police conducted a roadside test, which the man failed. He was arrested and taken to the detachment, and this time submitted to a breathalyser test. The lowest he blew was a 0.14 per cent blood alcohol content.

He was caught impaired behind the wheel again on Aug. 16 when police were conducting a check stop at 1:15 a.m. Raddi was pulled over in the check stop and was observed to have red, watery eyes and an odour of liquor. A roadside test was conducted, which he failed. He was then arrested and taken into custody where he gave a breathalyser sample, with read 0.13 per cent blood alcohol content.

Police detained him for six days after the arrest. He was released Sept. 21 on conditions to not possess the keys to a vehicle or to be found in the driver’s seat of the vehicle.

However, on Sept. 7, at 3:15 p.m., an officer doing patrols on the Dempster Highway passed a vehicle driving 120 kilometres per hour in a 90 kilometre zone. The officer pulled the vehicle over, recognized the driver and knew of his release conditions.

Raddi stepped out of the driver door and was given a roadside test. He failed and was arrested. After taking a breathalyser the man registered at.16 per cent blood alcohol content — double the legal limit. He was held for a few days and released Sept. 9.

Noting both his parents were survivors of the residential school system, duty counsel Tú Pham said Raddi had grown up in foster care for most of his childhood. He added Raddi was a self-admitted alcoholic, but had been sober from 2012 until 2019 in spite of the lack of treatment available in the north.

“Drinking and driving is out of character,” said Pham. “In the past he had no prior occurrences of this behaviour.”

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Eric Bowling

A lover of knowledge and adventure, Eric Bowling jumped at the opportunity to write for the Inuvik Drum and to see the world from a totally different vantage point. He has covered just about everything...

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