Paradise man who drove drunk three times in 10 months sentenced

Rosie Mullaley rmullaley@thetelegram.com
Published on July 11, 2013
Dennis Harold Lawlor, 39, is brought into court today by a sheriff's officer. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

A Paradise man who drove drunk three times in 10 months has been given a 4 1/2 month intermittent jail term and was banned from driving for five years.

The sentence for Dennis Harold Lawlor, 39, was handed down this morning in provincial court in St. John's.

"In drunk driving cases, denunciation and deterrence are important because the public is put at risk," Judge Lois Skanes said.

"It's only luck nobody was seriously injured or killed in this case."

Lawlor's first, and most serious incident happened July 12, 2012. While driving a dump truck for a construction company, he was exiting the Trans Canada Highway on Route 41B, just outside the city, when he went off the road and rolled the truck.

It took rescue crews two hours to get Lawlor out of the truck. He suffered cracked ribs on both sides of his body and a punctured lung.

Once his blood was checked, he had an alcohol reading of almost four times the legal amount.

The second incident happened Sept. 15, 2012, when he hit a parked car outside Tols Timeout lounge in Mount Pearl and took off before then hitting a gas pump on Topsail Road.

And on May 29 of this year, he was driving a pickup truck, when he rear-ended a dump truck.

Lawlor pleaded guilty to two counts of failing the breathalyzer and single counts of refusing the breathalyzer and leaving the scene of an accident.

When he was given the chance to speak, Lawlor admitted he had a serious drinking problem and plans to get help.

"I've truly learned from my mistakes. I know I've done wrong in the past," he said. "I am getting help and I'm going to continue with that and get my life back on track. It's important I make up for lost time with my family," added Lawlor, who has a son. "It's a problem I have to overcome."

The judge gave Lawlor 44 days credit for the time he's spent in custody, leaving 90 days left on his term.

The sentence, which will be served on weekends, also included a year's probation, with conditions that he continue with counselling for his alcohol dependency.

"Good luck to you, Mr. Lawlor," Skanes said before Lawlor left the courtroom.