POLITICS

Man gets charged with drunk driving, for the 17th time

01/28/2013 01:13 EST | Updated 03/30/2013 05:12 EDT
SHERBROOKE, Que. - A Quebec man is accused of being a drunk-driving offender — for the 17th time.

Maurice Larrivee allegedly showed up at a grocery store last Sunday morning to buy a case of two dozen beers at 8:45 a.m.

The cashier allegedly warned the 69-year-old man that he appeared too drunk to drive and, along with fellow employees, urged him not to get back behind the wheel.

"They tried to convince him not to take his car to go back home," said Philippe Dubois, a spokesman for the police force in Sherbrooke, Que.

But, he said, "the man ignored the advice."

Larrivee allegedly ignored the request and left. That's when store employees called the police.

The 69-year-old motorist didn't get far.

Police nabbed him quickly.

"The patrollers were close by," Dubois said. "He was about to pull out of the parking lot."

A breathalyzer was taken, and Larrivee's vehicle was seized and he was arrested after he was allegedly found to have a blood-alcohol level nearly twice as high as the legal limit.

The last time Larrivee was charged with DUI, in 2005, he lost his licence for five years.

But his rap sheet is not the longest of its kind for drinking and driving. In 2009, another Quebec man was convicted of DUI for the 19th time.

Roger Walsh was sentenced to life in prison because he killed a woman in an alcohol-related hit and run.

The judge refused a prosecution request to designate him a dangerous offender but, in handing down the life sentence, he called Walsh "incorrigible" and said he was incapable of quitting drinking.

The Quebec government wants offenders' vehicles confiscated for good after a third infraction. That measure can already be applied under the law but is not done so often enough, according to the government.

The province has prepared a number of instructions for prosecutors to toughen their stance at every step of legal proceedings involving intoxicated drivers.

Quebec wants repeat offenders to be tagged as "dangerous offenders" and is asking Ottawa to toughen the Criminal Code along those lines.