MADD president calls on Crosbie to lead fight against impaired driving
ST. JOHN’S, NL – The national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says she hopes Ches Crosbie will be a serious ally in the fight against drunk driving, a day after he admitted he was criminally convicted of refusing the breathalyzer in the 1990s.
Crosbie dropped the revelation out of the blue at the Quidi Vidi Brewery at the end of his event to formally launch his campaign for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party.
“There isn’t much I can say about a 25-year-old conviction, other than the fact that impaired driving is a very serious matter, even if it did occur 25 years ago,” MADD president Patricia Hynes-Coates said.
“I mean, we have to understand that he has moved forward. However, I would like to see this man take the lead in our fight on impaired driving. If he seriously learned his lesson, then let’s stand up and make some serious changes.”
Crosbie said he had been drinking, and he was alone in the car when he refused the breathalyzer. He told the CBC Oct. 25 that while he’d been drinking, he wouldn’t describe himself as drunk.
“It’s not something I’m proud of,” Crosbie told reporters. “I’ve learned a lesson out of it, which is not to repeat that, and I haven’t.” Hynes-Coates said attitudes toward drunk driving were different 25 years ago, but that’s not an excuse.
“It is something that was more socially accepted, because we didn’t have the education and the knowledge that we have now,” she said.
“Impaired driving is still a crime. It was back then, and it still is now, and this man could have done some serious damage. We’re very fortunate he didn’t injure or kill himself. We’re also very fortunate he didn’t injure or kill somebody else. However, you know, he did commit a crime.”
Crosbie said he applied for a pardon seven or eight years ago, and received one.
Hynes-Coates said ultimately, it’s up to people reporting drunk driving, and making better decisions in order to eradicate impaired driving altogether. She said MADD has been happy with the co-operation it has received from the provincial government.
“We’re not against people drinking. We’re not a prohibitionist organization,” she said.
“If you are planning on having a few drinks or availing of some type of drugs, then you need to make sure you plan ahead. Get a safe ride home.”