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RCMP see sharp increase in drunk driving during Penticton Fest of Ale

14 drivers taken off the road but police do credit the many who had a DD or took taxi
An estimated 6,500 took in the two-day Fest of Ale in Penticton April 14, 15. (Logan Lockhart Western News)

BC Highway Patrol saw a ‘sharp’ increase in drunk drivers during Fest of Ale this weekend in Penticton.

RCMP BC Highway Patrol (BCHP) conducted impaired driving enforcement in the Penticton area surrounding the Fest of Ale event April 14 and 15.

Police noted a sharp increase in the number of impaired drivers compared to a usual weekend but it is unclear how many of the impaired drivers originated from the festival itself.

Over the course of Friday and Saturday night combined, 14 people were issued driving prohibitions related to alcohol impairment. All of these drivers were issued prohibitions ranging from 24 hours to 90 days, plus towing and impound fees. In the majority of cases (9 of 14), 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibitions and 30 day vehicle impoundments were issued.

One driver, a 40-year-old man from Penticton faces criminal charges after being found to be driving while prohibited and impaired. The driver provided breath samples of 200 milligrams and 180 mgs, more than double the legal limit.

“BC Highway Patrol works closely with its road safety partners including local detachments, ICBC, RoadSafetyBC and you, the motoring public, to make our highways safer together,” said Sgt. Ryan Mcleod, unit commander of BCHP Keremeos. “While I am concerned about the number of people found driving while impaired over the weekend, I was also very impressed by the large number of people who came through our road checks using designated drivers or taxis to ensure they got home safely. It is critical to plan ahead for a sober ride home and we thank those who did.”

Thousands took in the two-day Fest of Ale at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on Friday and Saturday.

There were around 75 craft beer vendors providing tastings with several of them sold out by Saturday.

READ MORE: Cheers! Okanagan Fest of Ale returns indoors, welcomes thousands in Penticton

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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