NEWS

Nez Rouge drive-home turns violent during car break down

12/24/2014 07:20 EST | Updated 02/23/2015 05:59 EST
Belinda Blake has been volunteering with holiday-time drive-home service Nez Rouge for 10 years, but had never had a single violent altercation — until last week.

Blake and a volunteer driver picked up three people from a Hochelaga-Maisonneuve bar and was taking them home to the South Shore when the car they were travelling in broke down.

One of the passengers got upset when the driver pulled over to the side of the highway in Longueuil.

Blake said the drunk man tried to snatch the keys away and get into the driver’s seat to drive himself home.

"He got angry at me and he strangled and pushed me, but I got away from him. I took the keys, I put them in my pocket and I waited until the police came," Blake said.

Blake called Longueuil police and the man was arrested for assault.

David Latouche of Nez Rouge said such problems are rare, but the organization can’t guarantee absolute safety for its volunteers.

"We are dealing with people who may be under the influence of alcohol and may not be in control of what they say or what they do. Zero risk is not possible in those conditions," Latouche said.

Despite the incident, Blake said she will be back in action tonight, for one of the busiest nights of the holiday season.

"Knowing that I'm able to help people and help people get home safely for the holidays makes it worth it," she said.

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