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Wife of former Canadian mayor faces drunk driving charges

Canada's financial capital was in the public eye for some time thanks to the widely-publicized stories of Mayor Rob Ford, who struggled with alcohol and drug addiction before passing away due to complications from cancer. Now, Calgary residents may be surprised to hear his widow Renata is facing similar challenges as Toronto police have filed drunk driving charges against her. She is due in court this month to face these charges. 

The arrest took place on the evening of Dec. 28 after police found Mrs. Ford alone in her vehicle in a parking lot in the west end of the city. It is unclear whether police administered a blood alcohol test at this time, but they went on record saying her blood alcohol level was "well above" the 80 milligram limit dictated by provincial law. She was arrested and charged with drunk driving before being released to her family some time later. 

When questioned about her mental state, Mrs. Ford's former mother-in-law said she had been having a difficult time dealing with her grief following the death of her husband and her father. Mrs. Ford retains sole custody of the couple's two children, who are still minors at this time. Her mother is staying with her and helping with the children.

Many Calgary residents are probably aware that alcohol addiction can be a crippling illness, particularly when combined with grief. While it remains to be seen if Mrs. Ford will be found guilty of the drunk driving charges filed against her, it may be helpful for her defense representation to consider the implications of sentencing, particularly where the children are concerned. It may be possible to negotiate a plea bargain if Mrs. Ford is willing to seek mandated treatment. 

Source: Calgary Sun, "Rob Ford's widow Renata charged with impaired driving", Terry Davidson, Dec. 29, 2016

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