Unsuccessful driver switcheroo nets two drunk driving charges from Edson RCMP

by Claire Theobald

After pulling an unsuccessful switcheroo on an Edson RCMP officer, two men are now facing drunk driving charges.

An Edson RCMP officer pulled over a vehicle during a routine traffic stop along 51 Street in Edson on Saturday.

"When the officer initially stopped the vehicle, he believed he heard the engine revving," said Edson RCMP officer Const. Alex Ayres.

After approaching the man in the driver's seat, the officer administered a roadside breath test and, suspecting the man was under the influence of alcohol, arrested him.

Upon further investigation, the officer came to the conclusion that the man in the driver's seat had switched places with another man in the vehicle, who was now sitting in the passenger's side.

Unfortunately for both men involved, their not so clever ruse fell apart after the officer administered another roadside breath test on the second man, realizing both men were too drunk to drive.

"I don't think there was a lot of forethought there in how this would play out. Obviously, we don't believe either of them were in a position to drive legally," said Ayres. "Unfortunately for the both of them, it means they both get charged."

The man found in the driver's seat will now face charges of the impaired care and control of a motor vehicle and the impaired care or control of a motor vehicle above the legal limit.

The man sitting in the passenger seat will be charged with the impaired operation of a motor vehicle and for the impaired operation of a motor vehicle over the limit. He will also face charges under the Traffic Safety Act for driving with a suspended licence.

For switching seats, both men will be charged with obstructing a peace officer.

Ayres said it's not uncommon for drivers to switch seats with a passenger in an effort to dodge police, and says he has even witnessed a driver and passenger switch seats while the car was still in motion.

Ayres said he and other Edson RCMP officers are more concerned with the number of drunk drivers being pulled off the road in Edson, charging seven people with driving while impaired in the last seven days.