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Charges still pending for suspect with handguns, drugs

Police are still investigating a hunter apprehended in the Pemberton area on Nov. 30.

The B.C. Conservation Service was conducting a roadside check of hunters on Pemberton Meadows Road when they found a handgun in a vehicle. They contacted the Pemberton-Whistler RCMP detachment, which attended the scene and conducted a search of the car.

They arrested a Burnaby man for careless use of a firearm and unauthorized possession of a firearm. Four other guns were seized, resulting in two other violation tickets under the Wildlife Act, as well as a collection of narcotics including marijuana, cocaine, magic mushrooms and methamphetamines.

The investigation is continuing and the name of the offender will be released once formal charges are laid by the RCMP. The RCMP are handling the charges for the drug offences, while the Conservation Office is handling the firearms issues.

The man was thought to be a suspect in the slaying of a dog in the Mackenzie Basin area the previous weekend, but the RCMP are still treating the two incidents as separate.

Highway driving a concern

During last weekend’s blizzards the Whistler-Pemberton RCMP responded to 14 motor vehicle accidents. Most of them were minor, with only minor injuries, but RCMP are concerned about the kinds of things they’re seeing.

"We haven’t had any serious injuries, luckily," said Community Policing Officier Michelle Nisbet. "But we are seeing improper summer tires, people who were maybe driving too fast and slid into another car when they were trying to stop, people who took corners too sharp and ended up in the ditch, people who couldn’t stop and ended up in the ditch, cars abandoned in the ditch because the driver slid sideways off the road."

The RCMP will be focussing more attention on the highways, looking for impaired drivers, proper snow tires and violations like people driving too fast for the conditions.

The fine for driving without the proper winter tires is $109. The fine for driving too fast, Speed Relative to Conditions, is $167.

Nisbet says that people need to change their mindset.

"People need to get used to driving in the winter again, a lot of people are still driving like it’s summer. Our advice is to be overly cautious and get used to driving on snow, and take it a little slower," said Nisbet.

Driver pleads guilty, awaits sentencing

A Pemberton driver who rammed a truck through a highway barrier between Whistler and Pemberton last summer has pleaded guilty to two counts of Dangerous Driving Causing Bodily Harm, and will face sentencing this Monday, Dec. 13.

Paul Fournier, one of the two survivors of the crash, will attend the sentencing hearing to read a victim impact statement before the judge rules on the case.

According to Crown Counsel Sandra Watson, the driver will likely lose his license for a year or more, and could face other penalties or restrictions.

The maximum penalty for Dangerous Driving Causing Bodily Harm is 10 years in prison, although maximums are rarely handed out.

Another charge of driving while under the influence was stayed.