A Westlock-area teen was fined $750 for driving 72 km/h over the speed limit, but will not have his licence suspended.
The youth, who can’t be named due to a publication ban, appeared in Westlock Provincial Court last Wednesday with his mother, and pleaded guilty to the charge.
When he entered his plea, he explained to Judge Norman Mackie that his family relies on him driving a disabled family member to and from medical appointments, so a suspension would be very difficult for them.
Mackie explained why he was relatively lenient on this young man.
“I don’t place too much credit on your tale of panic, but considering your family’s reliance on you I won’t suspend your driver’s licence,” he said.
Provincial prosecutor Dave Hall said the ticket was issued on May 10 on Highway 44 north of Westlock at around 9:30 p.m., when a police officer saw two vehicles apparently racing north — and one of them was in the southbound lane.
“He could see four headlights coming at him, according to the notes, and he realized they were side-by-side,” he said.
The officer first clocked the two vehicles at 157 km/h, and noted the vehicle that was in the wrong lane — that of the youth who was charged — topped out at 172 km/h. He was only able to stop one of the vehicles, and chose the one that was clocked at the higher rate of speed.
The youth lost his licence at the side of the road, and Hall suggested more time without a licence would be in order.
When Mackie asked the youth to explain his actions he said he was returning from playing hockey and came up behind another vehicle on the road driving at about 90 km/h. When he tried to pass, he noticed the driver of the other vehicle was someone he knew from school.
“He started speeding up and I panicked because there was another vehicle coming,” he said. “I hit the gas instead of the brake. I know that was wrong.”
Under Alberta law, a ticket for driving 50 km/h over the limit comes with a $351 fine. For any speeds above that, there is a mandatory court appearance and the penalty is at the judge’s discretion.