Terrace RCMP received some help catching impaired drivers when a mobile unit which investigates roadside drug and alcohol impairment made a stop in the city.
Called ‘Alexa’s Bus’ after a four-year-old girl who was killed by a drunk driver in Delta, B.C., the unit was shown off at local schools and open to the public at the Skeena Mall parking lot yesterday.
It was also pressed into service and helped local officers catch four impaired drivers during its first night here.
“The reason why we have this as a tool to take impaired drivers off the road is that impaired driving is one of the leading causes of fatal [car crashes],” explained Cst. Serge Bruneau, an officer from Prince George who is touring with the unit.
“Unfortunately, the criminal code has made it so technical to investigate impaired driving that we need these tools,” he said.
Alexa’s bus provides police with the equipment needed to undertake impaired driving investigations including breath-testing machines, a darkroom for evaluating drug-impairment and two holding cells.
Cst. Bruneau explained that there is a very important reason why the unit is so valuable.
“If you’re working in a rural area, it saves time that you would otherwise spend traveling back to the detachment or waiting for the tow trucks.”
“When you’re talking about an impairment investigation, whether it be drug-impaired or alcohol-impaired, your timeline is crucial,” he said. “The longer you take, you’re losing the evidence.”
Following the arrival of the unit in Terrace two days ago, police stationed it along Kalum Lake Drive and on Queensway the first night, resulting in taking four impaired drivers off of local roads.
Terrace RCMP also set up a go-cart obstacle course at the mall, providing drunk goggles and testing people’s ability to drive while impaired or distracted.
Though Alexa’s Bus is based in Surrey, it is often toured around the province to raise awareness about the consequences of impaired or distracted driving.
Alexa Middelaer was only a preschooler when she was hit by an impaired driver in 2008 while feeding horses with her grandmother.
This was the first time that the bus visited Terrace.