Rushing wife to hospital costs man 10 demerit points, massive fine

July 22nd, 2011 by Staff

www.thestar.com — When his pregnant wife started bleeding onto the car seat, David Weber knew he was in trouble.

The couple was driving home from Winnipeg on March 21 when Genevieve Weber, who was eight months pregnant, suddenly went into labour.

Panicked because his wife had a C-section scheduled later in the week following complications during her last pregnancy, the father-to-be had one thought in mind: get to the hospital.

Weber floored the gas pedal. But along the way he was stopped twice by two separate RCMP officers, issued hundreds of dollars in speeding tickets and had 10 demerit points taken off.

Now the 32-year-old is scheduled to lose his licence for five months starting Saturday, and is fighting the provincial government for the right to drive.

“I’m hoping they’ll see the whole picture and have some compassion,” Weber said from the family’s farmhouse near Bagot, Man.

He’s written to the Ministry of Public Safety, asking it to review the incident. Because he lives in a rural part of the province with no public transit, a car is essential to get to work and buy groceries.

A Ministry of Public Safety spokeswoman said Wednesday that the office had not yet received the letter, which Weber said was sent Monday.

Weber was driving at a speed of 172 km/h in a 100 km/h zone when he was pulled over near Portage La Prairie, about an hour away from the hospital, RCMP spokesman Const. Miles Hiebert said.

At first “we were relieved,” Genevieve Weber recalled. When she saw the flashing lights, she thought the RCMP officer was going to escort them to Brandon General Hospital, where they had been scheduled to deliver.

Instead, David Weber was ticketed and told to go to Portage La Prairie’s hospital to wait for an ambulance transfer there. The couple was unwilling to wait, Genevieve Weber said, because by that time her contractions were only a few minutes apart. Her physician had warned her earlier that strong contractions could cause a rupture in her uterus due to her previous complications.

The officer let them continue with a warning that “travelling at that rate of speed was extremely dangerous,” said Hiebert, who declined to give the officer’s name.

But about 50 kilometres from Brandon, they were pulled over by the RCMP again. In addition to issuing a ticket, the officer ordered an ambulance, which took about 15 minutes to arrive, according to the couple. By this time, Genevieve Weber was in so much pain that paramedics had to carry her onto the ambulance.

The couple was rushed to Brandon General where she had an emergency C-section and gave birth to a baby girl, Anabela.

In April, a justice of the peace reduced the speeding fines — $964 at the first stop; the second fine had not yet been determined — to $400 in total, David Weber said. However, Manitoba Public Insurance, a Crown corporation that issues licences and provides auto insurance, kept the demerits on Weber’s record.

Ten demerit points is automatic grounds for licence suspension, Manitoba Public Insurance spokesman Brian Smiley said.

A Manitoba Public Insurance officer hearing the case takes factors like medical emergencies into account before making a decision on whether to suspend a licence and for how long, he added.

For David Weber, a suspended licence would hinder his ability to get to his sales job in Portage La Prairie. He’s been told it would take eight to 10 weeks to get a temporary licence, and he would have to pay. Add that to higher insurance, the speeding tickets and a driving seminar he’s been ordered to take, and “it’s a lot of money,” he said.

The couple knew they were breaking the law, but the emergency warranted it, Genevieve Weber said.

“You just think somebody would have some heart and would look deeper into our situation.”


One Response

  1. gary

    So very sad. First of all the first cop should have either put her in his car and escorted her. Would he if it had been a gun shot wound? someone esp a woman, was bleeding. uncalled for.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment. You are free to voice your opinion but please keep it clean. Any comments using profanity will be rejected.