A local Port Hardy man has been charged after driving a boat while in impaired late last year.
Jason Willie George Walkus is facing charges of dangerous operation of a vessel, operating a vessel while impaired, and care and control of a vessel with over 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood. Walkus’s blood-alcohol level was 5 times the legal limit.
According to a press release from Port Hardy Cst. Rebekah Draht, it was back on Nov. 29, 2018 at approximately 9:50 a.m., when Port Hardy RCMP received a report from the Marine Authority advising them that a fishing vessel approximately 10 metres in length was being operated in an erratic manner in the port and that the operator of the vessel may be impaired.
“Port Hardy members attended the marina and were informed that the vessel in question had since departed the bay area and was approximately four miles north of Port Hardy still being operated erratically,” stated Draht. “Members were able to view the vessel through binoculars and noted that it was just circling in the same spot out in the open water north of Port Hardy.”
With assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard, two Port Hardy members, Cpl. Voller and Cst. Peters, were transported out to the circling vessel.
“Police were able to observe a male seated at the helm of the vessel but he appeared to be slumped over and non-responsive,” noted Draht, adding, “The Coast Guard vessel unsuccessfully signalled the fishing vessel with its horn in an effort to gain the operator’s attention. At this point the fishing vessel was travelling quickly and continually turning to the right in a circle that appeared to be less than 200 metres in circumference. Police were concerned for the well-being of the operator as he was non-responsive and clearly not in control of the moving vessel. A decision was made to board the still moving vessel in order to bring it under control and ascertain the medical condition of those on board.”
The Coast Guard vessel pulled up next to the fishing vessel trying to match its speed and turning radius which proved difficult due to the large wake being put off by the fishing vessel.
“The Coast Guard Vessel was able to get along side the fishing vessel getting close enough to allow Cpl. Voller and a Coast Guard member to jump aboard,” said Draht. “Cpl. Voller was able to safely remove the boat operator from the helm while the Coast Guard member brought the fishing vessel under control.”
Voller then examined the operator for injury and medical distress.
“He was able to ascertain that the boat operator was grossly impaired and located an open container of liquor nearby,” Draht said, noting there was another male found sleeping in the hold of the fishing vessel and he was intoxicated as well. “The fishing vessel and the two males aboard was returned to the Port Hardy Marina with the assistance of the Canadian Coast Guard. The fishing vessel operator was arrested for impaired operation of a vessel. Due to his extreme level of intoxication he was transported to the Port Hardy Hospital for further examination.”
Walkus is to appear in court early next month.