May 04, 2015 - 2:49 PM
PENTICTON - An Osoyoos man with an apparent alcohol problem will have plenty of time behind bars to test his sobriety after he was sentenced to jail for an Osoyoos hit and run accident in 2014.
Steven Troy Fields, 28, was sentenced today, May 4, after pleading guilty to one count of failure to stop at the scene and one count of impaired driving causing bodily harm after an incident that took place in Osoyoos May 29, 2014.
Judge Brad Chapman said Fields bore a “high degree of moral cupability” in the accident, which occurred after a day of partying and heavy drinking by Fields.
Fields and two female friends went looking for more alcohol at approximately 10 p.m. May 29, after visiting a friend’s home. Fields, who was driving, first stopped at the Sage Liquor Store in Osoyoos, where he was refused alcohol after the clerk noticed Fields could not identify his brand of liquor, on the store shelf, and behaved in an unsteady and intoxicated manner.
Fields then went to the Owl Liquor Store, where he was able to purchase beer. The three then headed to downtown Osoyoos where Fields turned left near the Golden Chopsticks Restaurant. A man on a bicycle was crossing the intersection at a crosswalk when he was struck by Fields’ vehicle despite a warning shouted by his front seat passenger, who told him he had hit someone and had to stop.
Fields continued driving to his destination where he dropped off his passengers, who then called police.
The following day, Fields realized his front license plate had been torn off the car in the accident. He called ICBC, claiming it had been stolen.
He was arrested later that afternoon after police traced the plate found at the scene.
Fields told police he had been out 4X4ing the previous afternoon, and had stopped for beer later in the evening. He didn’t mention being refused service at the first liquor store, and initially claimed not to have consumed much alcohol. He said he didn’t see the cyclist until it was too late, and didn’t realize he hit someone. He said he didn’t have first aid skills, panicked and fled the scene.
The cyclist was attended by police and ambulance. He suffered spinal injuries, fractured ribs, a torn left ear and numerous abrasions. He was taken to Penticton Regional Hospital where he was admitted with non-life-threatening injuries.
Chapman noted the significant impact the injuries had on the victim and saed it was important to recognize the effects of drinking and driving on the community and society at large.
Chapman noted Fields had two previous 24-hour roadside prohibitions in 2009 and 2010. He also noted Fields’ high degree of impairment the day of the accident, evidenced by refusal of service at the liquor store, and his lack of awareness of the cyclist in the street when his passengers clearly saw the victim. He also noted that in Fields’ version of the events of that night, Fields also claimed to have driven back to the scene after dropping off his passengers, where he observed an ambulance loading someone. He didn’t stop and drove off.
Chapman said Fields had a moral requirement to stop and help, even if in the most elementary way. He said Fields’ action were made worse by the fact that he continued to drive even after arriving at his destination and dropping off his passengers. He also said Chapman didn't attempt to reduce drinking until six months following the accident.
“You didn’t take immediate steps to reduce alcohol. There were no steps to treatment. I believe you were looking after your own interests,” Chapman said.
Fields was sentenced to 12 months in jailfor impaired driving causing bodily harm, along with a consecutive sentence of three months’ jail for failing to stop at the scene of an accident. He was also given a three-year driving prohibition and 21 months' probation.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015