About a month ago a man named Ross Guy was riding a snowmobile across a frozen Georgian Bay when the unthinkable happened: the ice gave way and two of his friends sank beneath the surface. A third friend reached out to help the two, and he was dragged in.
Guy managed to save two of the men, but couldn’t reach the third, so he jumped on his snowmobile and drove for help.
Guy had been drinking, though. After an airboat attempted to rescue the friend, Guy was arrested for impaired driving. Whether or not you think the charge is fair depends on your view of the circumstances. Up to then Ross Guy had been a passenger, not a driver, but the other two were unable to drive – they’d just been pulled from freezing waters. Guy was determined to save his friends, and didn’t care about the consequences.
The arresting officers didn’t care about the circumstances, but a judge did. Charges were dropped. His friends who survived acknowledge Ross Guy as a hero.
People make a lot of excuses for driving while impaired – they don’t have the money for a taxi, or they know the route with their eyes closed, or it’s just a couple of miles, or they’ve driven the route drunk a hundred times. None of those are good excuses, and none of them merit a break from a judge.
This case is different, and it’s easy to see why the charges were dropped. He broke the law in order to save a life. Rarely do people have such clear-cut choices.
We don’t think that making an exception for this man is a slippery slope. Driving while impaired remains a bad choice, and most of us will fortunately never have to make the kind of choice that Ross Guy did. And for anything less than the extremely rare excuse of a friend in mortal danger, impaired driving is the wrong choice to make.