A former Whistler coach bus driver who drove drunk with dozens of passengers on board will face a $1,000 fine and a one-year driving prohibition.
Craig Randle, 66, was arrested late in the evening of Aug. 5, 2022 after one of his Vancouver-bound passengers called 911 to report him driving erratically and swerving between lanes, the court heard at his sentencing in North Vancouver Provincial Court on Thursday.
West Vancouver police officers pulled the Epic Rides bus over on Highway 1 near the 15th Street exit. Despite needing the help of two officers just to stand up, the Delta resident told investigators he hadn’t had a drink in two days. Taken to the police department, Randle took a breathalyzer test, which detected 210 to 220 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood – an amount that would be considered highly intoxicated.
“This is very clearly an aggravated impaired driving [case],” Crown prosecutor Adrienne Lee told the court. “There were 36 passengers on that bus. It is beyond fortunate that nothing happened on that evening given Mr. Randle’s level of intoxication.”
Randle’s defence lawyer Jennifer Currie said her client resigned from his job and began seeking treatment for alcoholism the day after the arrest. He has since completed detox and has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings regularly ever since.
Randle was not a frequent drinker but was prone to binge drinking, she said. On the day of his arrest, he began drinking vodka and beer with his lunch in Whistler before driving his passengers to Vancouver.
“I can advise Mr. Randle is extremely embarrassed and remorseful for his behavior, and in Mr. Randle’s case, those are not just words. Rather, he’s demonstrated his remorse in the fact he’s taken responsibility for his behavior,” she said. “As a result of all this effort by Mr. Randle, he has remained 100 per cent sober since the incident occurred and has approximately nine straight months of sobriety.”
The Crown and defence jointly submitted that a fine of $1,000 and a one-year driving ban would be appropriate punishment for Randle – the mandatory minimum for the charge.
Lee said had it not been for his immediate and lasting efforts to stay off alcohol, she would have sought a tougher sentence for Randle.
Given the opportunity to address the court before his sentencing, Randle spoke only about his rehabilitation.
“Basically, I took the one common denominator of the problems in my life, which was alcohol, and I’ve just taken it out of my life completely,” he said.
Provincial court judge Joseph Galati said he agreed with the Crown that Randle’s case was “very aggravated” but emphasized his actions since he drove impaired.
“I accept that you’re truly remorseful for what you’ve done and your actions speak to that in terms of what you started doing the day after,” he said. “You must consider yourself very fortunate… and at the same time, give yourself some credit for what you have been able to accomplish.”
Although Randle never did seek to get his licence back after it was temporarily suspended last year, Galati wished him good luck once his driving prohibition expires in 2024.
“If you can’t control your drinking, you can control your driving,” he said.