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Drivers in deadly crash charged with impaired driving, drug offences

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Not just one, but both drivers involved in a deadly collision last fall have been charged with impaired driving – a rare and “disturbing” twist to the crash, says the head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada.

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Both drivers involved in a deadly collision northeast of Goderich last fall have been charged with impaired driving, a rare and disturbing twist, says the head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada.

The two drivers were taken to hospital and a passenger, a 45-year-old Brockton resident, died at the scene of the collision at Howick-Turnberry Road and Fordwich Line in Howick Township on Nov. 5, 2023, about midnight, provincial police said.

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The blood of both drivers was tested at the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto, OPP Const. Craig Soldan said.

The OPP announced Wednesday both drivers in the crash in Huron County, north of London where nine people have died in collisions since October, face impaired driving and drug-related charges.

“I have not heard of two drivers being charged in the same crash; that’s disturbing,” MADD Canada chief executive Steve Sullivan said. “Far too many people are making the choice to drive impaired.”

Soldan, a 25-year police veteran, also said the Huron County case is the first time he’s heard of both drivers involved in a crash being charged with impaired driving.

“I believe it’s fairly rare, thankfully,” he said.

Matthew Kaufman, 32, of South Bruce is charged with impaired driving, impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm, dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and possessing cocaine.

Teresa Hammil, 45, of Hanover is charged with impaired driving, possessing methamphetamine, possessing magic mushrooms and possessing more than 30 grams of cannabis.

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Sullivan said more needs to be done to boost public awareness of and education about drug-impaired driving.

“We can look back over the past few decades and there’s actually been a decline in alcohol-impaired driving. Not to say the problem is solved . . . but there has been a societal shift in how people view alcohol-impaired driving,” he said.

“I think there are still many people who don’t appreciate the risks of drug-impaired driving and I don’t think people appreciate that police officers can and do detect and catch people who are impaired by drugs.”

MADD has stepped up its efforts to convey that message to students, Sullivan said on Wednesday from Toronto, where he was attending a road-safety forum and spoke with police officers who described encountering motorists impaired by multiple drugs.

“Or you’re seeing alcohol and cannabis, which is really deadly mix,” he said. “There’s a lot of other societal questions that need to be answered about people’s substance use. But we’re seeing the consequences on the roads.”

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Kaufman, who was arrested March 21, and Hammil, who was arrested March 7, were released on undertakings – a document created by either a court or police that places the charged person under certain conditions – and are scheduled to make their first court appearances in Goderich on April 22 and May 6, respectively.

The rare case of police laying impaired driving charges against both drivers in a crash comes on the heels of the OPP pledging to step up efforts to combat impaired driving in response to a surge of deaths and charges.

Impaired driving fatalities jumped 31 per cent between 2018 and 2023, when there were 385 deaths on OPP-patrolled roads across Ontario, and cases of police laying impaired driving charges also increased by 33 per cent, the OPP said.

Police warned drivers that Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) checkpoints will continue to be rolled out throughout the year and drivers should be prepared to provide a breath sample to officers during traffic stops, even if they aren’t suspected of consuming alcohol.

Investigators ask anyone with information about the Nov. 5, 2023, crash to contact Huron OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

dcarruthers@postmedia.com

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