Photo: Barry MacRury
An North Okanagan woman's story about losing her licence and having her car impounded over her inability to blow forcefully enough into a breathalyzer was eerily familiar to Barry MacRury.
The 72-year-old says the same thing happened to him in April.
MacRury says his story is "almost identical."
He says he came out of a pub in Coquitlam where he was having dinner with his lawyer and "wasn't worried because I wasn't drinking."
MacRury says a Transit Police officer who had been staked out across the street pulled out after him and followed him for several blocks before pulling him over.
"They demanded a mandatory breath test," says MacRury. "I told him I wasn't drinking, but he said that doesn't matter."
MacRury says, just like Yvonne Lebedoff, he blew eight times but was unable to get a breathalyzer reading.
"I failed because I have serious asthma," he told Castanet.
MacRury says he uses an inhaler daily and is never without one, but when he mentioned this, he was accused of "trying to screw the system."
That's because the officer said rescue inhalers can contain alcohol.
"I looked it up. My inhaler has one ten thousandth of one per cent alcohol in it," says MacRury.
When the transit cops saw him pull out the inhaler, they confiscated it and also took his phone.
"They kept me on the street for two hours," he says.
MacRury filed an appeal, but says he lost – as he was advised by a lawyer he would – because the system is set up to push cases through and "generate money."
He now has his car back, but it was impounded for 30 days and he lost his driver's licence for 90 days.
"I'm six weeks into my suspension," he said this week.
MacRury's son came and picked him up after the ordeal.
He wonders why transit cops have been tasked with policing drunk driving and calls the whole thing "a cash grab."
"They should be policing all the crime on the SkyTrain," he says. "They're not doctors, what do they know about asthma?"
Like Lebedoff, MacRury was charged with failing to provide a breath sample.
His lawyer told him he could seek a judicial review, but that it would be unlikely to change matters and would cost up to $9,000.
"I've already spent $2,000, that's enough," he said. "The odds are stacked against me."
Meanwhile, he's worried it could happen again.
"I could get my licence back after three months and they could do it all again – I still wouldn't be able to blow."
Lebedoff's case happened when she left the Vernon Army Navy Air Force Club after having just a Diet Pepsi.
The three-time cancer survivor left about 9:30 p.m., and decided to head home to Armstrong.
Due to previous cancer and obstructive breathing issue, she was also unable to provide a breathalyzer reading.