Park board commissioner Constance Barnes calls drunk driving "a really stupid mistake"

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Vision Vancouver park board commissioner Constance Barnes has admitted that driving while drunk last month was “a really stupid mistake”.

“I had been out in the sun all day,” Barnes told reporters during a press conference today (June 10) at SFU Harbour Centre. “And as to how much I’d had to drink, I just don’t know. I had a couple of ciders and made the mistake of getting behind the wheel.”

Earlier in the day, Vision Vancouver issued a statement from Barnes. In it, she admitted she drove from Iona Beach in Richmond to Vancouver while under the influence of alcohol on May 23. Barnes fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a house in South Vancouver.

Barnes said she has enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous and is seeking professional help. In the meantime, she is on leave from her job and has taken a medical leave as park commissioner.

She has been charged with driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

“Hopefully nobody will get behind the wheel of a car with alcohol in their system,” Barnes told reporters after she had read her prepared statement. “I think what is going to be good for me is that I will now seek help and work toward the future.”

Addressing why she took 18 days to disclose the incident, Barnes said in response to a Straight question, “It was one of those things where legal people tell you to do one thing and my stomach was telling me to do another.

“So I took it upon myself to actually call back the person that had said, ”˜You know, let’s work this out and, legally, let’s work this out before it comes out,’” Barnes said. “And for me it was keeping me awake and I was not doing well and I just had to come out and be honest.”

Barnes is the daughter of the late Emery Barnes, an American immigrant who was the first black Speaker in the provincial legislature when he was elected to the post in 1994.

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Gordon Hardy
Barnes is the second of two Vision Vancouver luminaries to plead guilty to drunk driving, the first being Counsellor Tim Stevenson who admitted to excessive tippling while out grocery shopping and then pulling a DUI right through the heart of the Davie Village. Neither resigned. Does this mean that we've heard the last of the calls for Gordon Campbell's resignation after his DUI in Hawaii some years back?

Also, Barnes claims to have "fallen asleep" at the wheel after consuming an unknown amount of alcohol. Geez, last time I did anything like that, I called it passing out. Thanks for the honesty, Constance.


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