Woman appalled at police treatment

Rudy Norman
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A Seal Cove woman says she was horrified late last month after an experience she had with the RCMP in Baie Verte that left her confused, tired and frustrated.

Vera Rice is a cancer survivor. Her condition and treatments over the years have left her with poor balance and she has trouble walking.

Late in June she was returning home late at night from the hospital in Baie Verte, where she was receiving treatment for an infection stemming from years of cancer treatment.

Rice says she was pulled over by the RCMP just before the Seal Cove turnoff. She says she wasn’t speeding, and was wearing her seatbelt.

"The cop came up and asked me why I was going so slow,” Rice said. “I told her I was going slow because it was dark, and I don’t like driving at night, plus I was getting ready to pull off to go out to Seal Cove.”

Rice says the officer asked her for her licence and registration, and also asked if she’d been drinking or doing drugs. She told the officer she’d just left the hospital and had been taking antibiotics.

The officer told her to get out of the car and proceeded to conduct a field sobriety test.

“She asked me to walk a straight line and to stand on one foot and balance, and all this,” said Rice. “I couldn’t do it because of my condition and the infection I had in my bones.”

Rice says she tried to explain to the officer about her condition and why she wasn’t able to do the things she’d been asked, but felt she was ignored.

“She put me in the back of her car and made a phone call,” she said. “By and by she came back and told me she was taking me to Deer Lake for a drug test.”

 It was after midnight. Rice says she was shocked.

Once in Deer Lake, tests proved  Rice wasn’t under the influence, and she says it was then that they set off back to Baie Verte, arriving just after 5 a.m. — just a couple of hours before she was scheduled for her next medical treatment.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “Why did I have to go through that? Wasn’t there an easier way to find out I wasn’t doing anything wrong?”

Cpl. Justin Hewlett with the Baie Verte RCMP says everything that happened was normal procedure.

“When it comes to people who are potentially under the influence of drugs, that takes specialized training to determine whether they are or not,” he said.

“There are only a few officers in the province who have that training, and unfortunately neither of them are stationed in Baie Verte.”

Hewlett says the officer who pulled Rice over was just doing her job.

“If we see someone we believe may be under the influence, based on our training and the signs we look for, then we have a duty to ensure that person is safe, and the rest of the public is safe. That’s our job,” he said.




Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Baie Verte, Seal Cove, Deer Lake

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Recent comments

  • Guest
    July 10, 2014 - 10:57

    There are so many non-stories on this site every week. I wish people would stop going to the news for every little thing that Inconveniences them.

  • Missy
    July 10, 2014 - 10:54

    Non-story....the police were just doing their job. So many people in this province are driving while under the influence. It's a shame that it ruined ur evening when she was sick, but that's life.

  • Dee
    July 10, 2014 - 09:18

    The police officers were doing their job how many people just sit behind the wheel and say no I hadn't had a drink when they did.Another thing is if this woman just had treatment and she knows how she reacts after the fact then she should have requested a doctors letter when she left the hospital.Also if she was quite unstable after treatment should she even be driving.Maybe she should have had someone provide transportation for her.Unfortnate but the cop took everyone's safety into consideration.

  • Angela
    July 10, 2014 - 09:08

    This is disgraceful! It reminds me of when I was chosen to be searched going through Customs at the airport. I had an inside seat on my flight so I waited to get off the plane to go to the washroom. Unfortunately, having to use the washroom set off all the alarms at customs and I was kept there for several hours being searched and was not allowed to go the washroom the entire time. It was certainly a lesson learned for me. It really, really felt inhumane. This was about 5 years ago and I still think about it alot. I haven't traveled outside the country since.

  • JRM
    July 10, 2014 - 07:13

    Listening is a key part of police work. It would appear this was missing from this encounter. Also unfortunate is the "guilty until proven innocent" presumption of this Officer.

  • Ken Collis
    July 10, 2014 - 06:34

    Or you could have phoned the damned hospital to verify her story!!!

    • Soulman
      July 10, 2014 - 10:10

      yes because the hospital will very eagerly share your personal and PRIVATE medical information over the phone.....try it Ken...let us all know how that goes for you

    • bill 29
      July 10, 2014 - 10:26

      hospital isn't allowed to relese this info to anyone without a warrant.

    • Bern
      July 10, 2014 - 10:33

      I am sure the hospital if allowed could confirm her story but would you verify the person did not that illegal drugs or alcohol without seeing her..common sense dude! I would never vouch for anyone that they did not drink or do drugs unless I was with them for an extended period of time.

  • sm parsons
    July 10, 2014 - 06:26

    yes, the officer was doing her job, but all of this could have been avoided if the officer had just listened to the driver. or the officer could have called a family member to confirm the story. common sense really.

    • Thomas
      July 10, 2014 - 09:48

      You comment is silly, really silly. No officer, I was not taking drugs. Ok, you are free to be on your way. As well, despite her condition how would family verify that she was not into something other than an antibiotic at the time? Same goes for calling the hospital. Cop was doing her job and from what the lady said in this news clip the cop did so respectfully.