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Port Hardy man charged with impaired operation of vessel

PORT HARDY, B.C- A man from Port Hardy is facing charges of operating a vessel while impaired after being arrested in November.

According to a news release from the Port Hardy RCMP, the detachment received a report about an erratic fishing vessel on the morning of November 29, 2018. The vessel was 10 metres in length, and being operated in an erratic manner in the port area.

It was believed that the operator could have been impaired.

After officers arrived at the marina, they were told that the vessel had left the bay and around four miles north of Port Hardy, still being operated erratically. They spotted it through binoculars, and saw it circling the same spot north of the community.

With assistance from the Coast Guard, a Corporal Voller and Constable Peters were taken to the circling vessel.

“Police were able to observe a male seated at the helm of the vessel but he appeared to be slumped over and non-responsive,” read the release.

“The Coast Guard vessel unsuccessfully signalled the fishing vessel with its horn in an effort to gain the operator’s attention. At this point the fishing vessel was travelling quickly and continually turning to the right in a circle that appeared to be less than 200 metres in circumference. Police were concerned for the well-being of the operator as he was non-responsive and clearly not in control of the moving vessel. A decision was made to board the still moving vessel in order to bring it under control and ascertain the medical condition of those on board.”

The Coast Guard vessel came along the fishing boat, trying to match its speed and turning, which proved difficult due to the wake being generated. Eventually, the Coast Guard vessel managed to get close enough for Voller and a Coast Guard member to jump on the fishing boat.

“Corporal Voller was able to safely remove the boat operator from the helm while the Coast Guard member brought the fishing vessel under control,” read the release.

“Corporal Voller examined the operator for injury and medical distress. He was able to ascertain that boat operator was grossly impaired and located an open container of liquor nearby. There was another male found sleeping in the hold of the fishing vessel and he was intoxicated as well.”

The fishing vessel and two men aboard were taken back to the Port Hardy Marina, with the assistance of the Coast Guard, where the operator of the fishing boat was arrested for impaired operation of a vessel. He was then taken to hospital in Port Hardy for further examination, due to his “extreme level” of intoxication.

Jason Willie George Walkus is now facing charges of dangerous operation of a vessel, operating vessel while impaired, and care and control of a vessel with over 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood.

His blood-alcohol level was found to be five times the legal limit.

He is set to appear in court, early next month.

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