Joanna Fairhurst had been driving her Ford Escape when she nearly crashed into another vehicle on Highway 17. That driver, along with some others who had witnessed Fairhurst’s erratic driving, followed her to, of all places, the LCBO Liquor Store in Hagar.
The alert citizens blocked the Escape and called the police.
It was not Fairhurst’s day. In addition to attracting the attention of motorists, she was unable to complete her errand, because the LCBO store personnel were on the ball. The Liquor Licence Act states that “no person shall sell or supply liquor or permit liquor to be sold or supplied to any person who is or appears to be intoxicated.” Last year well over 400,000 people were turned away for various reasons, chiefly for being underage but also for intoxication.
In this case, it was easy to recognize that the prospective customer was drunk – she blew a .285, more than 3 times the legal limit – but LCBO personnel are trained to spot much more subtle signs which may betray intoxication:
- Too soft or loud speech
- Lack of alertness – a person might take too long to respond to a question
- Sweating and shallow breathing
These are a bit more subtle than the obvious signs, which include stumbling, slurred speech, and the smell of alcohol. And they are the reason that all managers and employees must be certified by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario before being allowed to serve or sell alcohol.
Last week in a Sudbury court Fairhurst received an 18-month suspension, and she will undergo counseling and treatment. It’s the best outcome, and one for which we can thank the LCBO staff and a few concerned drivers who thought it best to take a drunk driver off the road.