A Kamloops man who overdosed on a sedative street drug while driving on the Trans-Canada Highway between Dallas and Pritchard has avoided jail.
But Roald Daniel Van Der Merwe, 26, will spend six months living under strict court-ordered conditions after pleading guilty in Kamloops provincial court Tuesday to one count of dangerous driving.
Court heard police received multiple reports of an erratic driver eastbound on the Trans-Canada Highway near Pat Road on the afternoon of Nov. 28, 2016. When a police officer caught up to the vehicle, she observed it “slaloming” between lanes and fluctuating in speed between 5 km/h and 80 km/h.
After five minutes, police called off the pursuit. Van Der Merwe’s vehicle, a Jeep, continued along the highway and drove through a construction zone, knocking over 14 pylons and striking equipment.
The Jeep left the roadway a short time later, slamming into the concrete divider and then veering into the ditch.
The RCMP constable approached the vehicle when she arrived at the scene of the crash.
“There was no odour of alcohol on the driver’s breath, but he did have vomit on his lap,” Crown prosecutor Frank Caputo said, noting doctors gave Van Der Merwe two doses of Naloxone at Royal Inland Hospital.
Caputo said he would have sought jail time if not for Van Der Merwe’s lack of a criminal record.
Defence lawyer Jeremy Jensen said Van Der Merwe tried GHB — also known as the date-rape drug — for the first time a short time before the highway demolition derby.
“He’s fully aware of how lucky he was that no one was injured,” Jensen said. “He’s been entirely sober since.”
Van Der Merwe apologized in court.
“I highly regret what happened and I understand that my substance abuse problem has taken a lot of things from me,” he said. “I’m very happy to know nobody was injured.”
In addition to the conditional sentence order, Van Der Merwe will also be bound by a one-year driving ban.