Man facing serious impaired related charges after Sheguiandah woman left seriously injured

SHEGUIANDAH FIRST NATION–An early morning walk from a party has resulted in tragedy for a 35-year-old Sheguiandah woman, Ruta Tribinevicius, when she was hit by an impaired driver and left seriously injured on a Sheguiandah First Nation street.

Ms. Tribinevicius, who lives on Townline Road, the curator of Rue Studio, was walking home from a birthday party at approximately 3 am on Friday, July 20 when she was struck by a vehicle on the Sheguiandah First Nation. The driver was 33-year-old David Doucette of Sheguiandah First Nation. Mr. Doucette fled the scene but was later arrested by officers with the Ontario Provincial Police who charged the man with impaired driving. At that time, the officers didn’t know the tragedy that had just occurred and from which Mr. Doucette was apparently fleeing.

Officers with the United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin (UCCM) Anishnaabe Police Service were attending a separate incident, also in Sheguiandah First Nation, when they learned of the hit and run. Police then changed the charge against Mr. Doucette to ‘driving while ability impaired causing bodily harm.’

Ms. Tribinevicius has been left gravely injured and, as of press time Monday, had undergone four gruelling surgeries at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, where she was airlifted Friday.

The police force’s battles with impaired drivers weren’t yet over for just one hour later, OPP laid another impaired driving charge, this time against a woman, also in the Sheguiandah area.

Community Services Officer Marie Ford said there was yet another impaired charge laid on island roads, on Sunday night, leading this newspaper to question whether impaired driving is once again on the rise and leading this publication to make an editorial standpoint to begin publishing impaired drivers’ names from now on by way of a small act of deterrence.

A benefit fundraiser for Ms. Tribinevicius has been tentatively set for Saturday, August 11 at the former United Church in Kagawong. Admission to the fundraiser is $10.

“We’re going to have a band playing, a silent auction and we’ll be selling her maple syrup,” said one of the organizers, Meg Middleton. “We’ll be doing everything we can to help Ruta and her recovery.”

Ms. Middleton said the organizing committee will be accepting donations for the silent auction, such as services from local businesspeople as well as pieces from local artists. Donations of food, such as a plate of cookies or sandwiches, would also be greatly appreciated. To donate or for more information, contact Ms. Middleton at 705-368-1461 or thisismegmiddleton@gmail.com.