A Clayton Park woman arrested twice in a 10-hour span for impaired driving sat motionless in a Halifax courtroom yesterday as a judge ordered her to stay away from alcohol and forbade her from operating any motor vehicle.
The woman appeared drawn and exhausted during her brief appearance, staring at the floor and answering the judge’s questions in a barely audible whisper.
Halifax Regional Police allege the first incident happened around 8:40 a.m. Tuesday, when someone phoned police to report a possible impaired driver on Regency Drive. Police say they tracked down the vehicle, tested the woman behind the wheel, and determined she was above the legal limit. According to police spokesman Const. Brian Palmeter, the woman was arrested and her car left at the scene.
“I’m not sure how she got home (from police headquarters),” Palmeter added.
Just 10 hours later, police say two more concerned citizens called 911 to report that someone was driving erratically down the Bedford Highway near Wedgewood Avenue.
It turned out to be the same woman, police allege.
This time, said Palmeter, she refused a breathalyzer test, and was again arrested and charged.
“This is certainly something that’s very rare,” Palmeter said. “If somebody gets charged once, we would certainly hope that they would learn from that and not put themselves in a position to be arrested and charged again in such a short period of time.”
He explained the officer took the unusual step to hold the suspect overnight because the second arrest “really showed the propensity to continue the offence.”
“Obviously, this could have ended differently, with somebody being seriously hurt,” he added.
Diedra Fougere, 50, is charged with two counts of impaired driving, one count of failing the breathalyzer, and one count of refusing a breathalyzer in connection with two separate incidents.
Fougere has two previous impaired driving convictions. The first was handed down in New Glasgow in October 1990, and the second in Port Hawkesbury in 2001.
She is scheduled to return to court in Halifax Feb. 23.
Police in Halifax say the public has been an enormous help this winter in identifying and tracking down impaired drivers in HRM. Over the past four days, at least six people have phoned 911 to report having seen someone driving erratically. On Monday night alone, three people were arrested and charged as a direct result of those tips, said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Joe Taplin. Three more calls Tuesday led to the arrest, and subsequent re-arrest, of 50-year-old Diedra Fougere of Clayton Park.