(THUNDER BAY, ON) – On Thursday, October 17th, 2019 around 10:15 am officers with the Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS) responded to a call of a female driver acting erratically. Two separate and distinct 911 calls were made regarding the same female.
The first complainant told the 911 operator that a female was doing drugs in her vehicle and flailing around in a Dodge pick-up truck. This first call explained that the incident happened at the Circle K at Balsam and River. A second 911 call was made and reported the same situation but this time it was outside Lovely Body, located at 264 Red River Road where the vehicle was parked outside a business.
Around 10:40 am a TBPS officer was driving southbound on Algoma Street approaching Pearl Street when he noticed the same vehicle that was described earlier with the woman flailing inside it. He observed a lone occupant in the vehicle which was a female and she was in the northbound lane of Algoma Street at a red light at the intersection with Pearl Street. The officer observed the woman’s upper body moving left and right while her arms were flailing up into the air while the woman was stopped at a red light. The light went green and the woman took off down the road.
The Dodge pick-up truck was witnessed swerving between the lines of the road while the driver was jerking left and right. Police noticed the woman stopped at Dawson Street and then took off again. The officer pulled up behind the vehicle and that’s when the vehicle slowed down its speed to roughly 35 km/h in a 50 km/h zone. The vehicle then stopped at Peter Street and remained stationary for about 15 seconds before taking off again. That is when police conducted a traffic stop.
Once the officer approached the window he noticed the woman’s body was still jerking around, including her leg. The woman identified herself. Police questioned the woman about drug use and the woman told police that she had not used drugs but was on her way to get her methadone. Police placed the woman under arrest for impaired operation of a conveyance by drug and she was requested to exit the vehicle. She complied and was placed in the back of the police cruiser.
A search of the vehicle yielded numerous needles, some that were used and had some blood in them. She was transported to the Thunder Bay Police Service headquarters at 1200 Balmoral Street where a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) arrived and spoke with the woman. The woman spoke to her lawyer and was transported to the hospital for a blood sample to check what drugs were in her system.
The results from that test indicated that she had fentanyl, methadone, cocaine, benzo and traces of a drug called “Trazadone”.
25-year-old Tamara Gauvreau was later released from police custody with a future court date. Today, in courtroom 102, Gauvreau plead guilty to the charge of impaired operation. Justice Frank Valente was presiding over plea court today along with Crown Attorney Katrina “Lock ’em UP!” VanKessel and criminal defence lawyer Scarfe.
Court hears that Gauvreau is not employed and on Ontario Works (welfare). Through counsel, she claims she is seeking treatment.
The Judge tells Gauvreau that it would have been very easy for a member of the motoring public or pedestrian public to have been seriously hurt had she not have been stopped by police.
A joint submission is put forth from both the Crown and defence for the minimum sentence possible for the impaired operation charge which is a $1000 fine and a 1-year driving prohibition. The victim fine surcharge is waived as the court finds that it would put an “undue financial strain” on Gauvreau since she doesn’t work.