Suspected drunk driver faces 12 charges after kids hit
A 41-year-old Merritt man faces 12 criminal charges in connection to Sunday night's (March 20) incident in Brocklehurst in which a Jeep Cherokee plowed into a group of children, sending four to hospital.
John Darren Thompson faces four counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm, four counts of causing an accident resulting in bodily harm and one count each of impaired driving, driving with a blood-alcohol content over 0.08, breaching a recognizance and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned said it was "an absolute miracle" no one was killed when the 1992 Jeep Cherokee crashed into a group of children walking near Parkcrest elementary just before 11 p.m. on Sunday.
Four children between the ages of 12 and 14 were taken to Royal Inland Hospital.
Three of the injured children were treated an released from hospital, but one suffered serious head trauma, facial fractures and chest injuries. He remains in hospital in serious condition.
Police say the driver has a history of impaired driving and was prohibited from driving at the time of the accident.
Mounties say the driver of the Jeep blew twice the legal blood-alcohol limit when taken to the RCMP's Battle Street detachment, noting witnesses say the Jeep was driving at "a very high rate of speed" prior to the collision.
"When you have a vehicle of that size travelling at the speeds witnesses have reported that vehicle as doing . . . you can foresee just catastrophic injuries," Learned said, calling the fact nobody was killed "miraculous."
Learned said police are still looking for witnesses who might have seen the Jeep in the moments leading up to the collision.
The vehicle is an older-model blue Jeep Cherokee with a for-sale sign and a Vancouver Canucks flag in the window. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 250-828-3000.