KAMLOOPS, B.C. - Getting pie-eyed on hard liquor and repeatedly driving long distances on B.C. highways has landed a 41-year-old alcoholic behind bars for three months.
Christopher Pye was sentenced in Kamloops provincial court Friday after pleading guilty to 13 charges spanning three separate drunk-driving instances. In one case, he drove more than 350 kilometres from Kamloops to the Vancouver area.
The court heard he lives in the coastal community of Powell River but has a son in the Interior.
"It’s really hard to fathom the risk you put the community in," said provincial court Judge Len Marchand.
Marchand sentenced Pye to 90 days in jail and ordered him to pay $1,800 in fines. He'll also spend one year on probation with conditions requiring he abstain from alcohol and take addiction counselling.
"This isn't a guy who goes to a pub and has a good time with friends," said defence lawyer Jeremy Knight.
"He drinks hard alcohol, he drinks while he's driving and he doesn't try to hide it. It shows that his alcoholism is very deep-rooted."
The court heard that a BC Ferries employee called police on Sept. 5, 2014, when Pye arrived at the Horseshoe Bay terminal in West Vancouver after driving from Kamloops, appearing severely intoxicated and with a bottle of vodka on his passenger seat.
When police arrived and asked Pye to exit his vehicle, he couldn't stand on his own, and the court heard he told investigators he'd consumed three-quarters of the more-than-one-litre bottle of vodka on the drive.
Pye was arrested and gave police a breath sample showing a blood-alcohol level of 0.28 — more than three times the legal limit.
On Feb. 3 of this year, court heard, he was arrested again after his common-law wife called police to say she'd received "incoherent texts" and phone calls with "slurred speech" from Pye, who was driving on the Coquihalla headed to Kamloops.
His was tracked down in Merritt. Police found two bottles of vodka — one empty and one full — inside his vehicle, court heard.
He was arrested and provided a breath sample showing a blood-alcohol level of 0.23.
Pye also pleaded guilty to a separate impaired-driving charge from May 2014, which saw him blow 0.24.
Pye apologized in court, saying he felt "great regret" for putting so many lives in jeopardy.
(Kamloops This Week)