B.C. woman sues RCMP officer who issued driving penalty while her son gave her a ride home

A B.C. woman who was issued a roadside prohibition late last year after getting a ride from her son while she was impaired is launching a lawsuit against the RCMP officer who wrote the ticket.

According to the lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court this month, Sarah Cogswell and her husband were at a Christmas party in Nelson the night of Dec. 13, 2019, when they called their 22-year-old son to pick them up, as both had been drinking.

The son was driving and the mother was sitting in the front passenger seat when they went through a holiday Counter Attack road check. When the RCMP officer — identified in the lawsuit as Const. Alan Therrien — asked if anyone had consumed any alcohol, the woman admitted she had.

After failing a roadside test, Therrien issued a 90-day roadside prohibition to Cogswell, and the family vehicle was impounded.

RCMP have told Global News the son had a learner’s licence at the time of the incident. Under the Motor Vehicle Act, that prohibited him from driving while his front-seat passenger, who is meant to be the driver’s supervisor, is intoxicated.

Police later reversed course and cancelled both the roadside prohibition and the vehicle impound. The lawsuit says RCMP notified the family of the change a week after the incident, on Dec. 20. Cogswell got her licence back the next day.

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