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Driver's bizarre behaviour leads to impaired by drugs charges

Man seen banging his head on steering wheel before parking on the wrong side of the road and passing out, police say
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On May 18, 2019 at 9:26 a.m., the East Algoma Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) were called to a suspicious male in a pickup truck passed out and parked in the opposite lane of traffic on Laprairie Crescent in the City Elliot Lake, Ont.

The complainant stated that they watched the male drive to that location. (It is alleged that) prior to passing out, he was shaking his head aggressively and banging it against the steering wheel. 

The male driver woke up a short time afterwards, exited the vehicle and departed the area on foot. A second complaint was reported of the male on foot acting in a bizarre manner behind a school on Hergott Avenue.

Police and Algoma Paramedic Services (EMS) located the male. He was yelling at trees, not making sense, taking his shirt off, and exhibited signs of confusion.

Police were able to gain control of the male. He was assessed by EMS and later released. A pill bottle with numerous suspected prescription pills was located inside the vehicle and seized by police.

Mitchell Gentile, 29 years of age, from Elliot Lake, Ont. was charged with:

  • operation while impaired - alcohol and drugs, contrary to section 320.14(1)(a) of the Criminal Code (CC),
  • possession of a schedule I substance - opioid (other than heroin), contrary to section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA),
  • drive motor vehicle - no licence, contrary to section 32(1) of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA),
  • drive motor vehicle with speed measuring warning device, contrary to section 79(2) of the HTA.

The accused is scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Elliot Lake, Ont. on June 4, 2019.

The East Algoma Detachments of the OPP would like to remind the motoring public to drive sober; this includes drug consumption as well. Impairment by drugs is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada (CC) and drivers who are charged with driving while impaired by drugs are subject to the same penalties as those who are charged with driving while impaired by alcohol.

The OPP has highly trained drug recognition evaluator (DRE) officers who are skilled in the detection and investigation of drug impaired drivers.

A charge of impairment by drugs involves all drugs, be it prescription, over-the-counter and those that are illegal. Should you observe a suspected impaired driver, please dial 911 or contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122.