The Gibsons councillor who withdrew from the mayoral race as he was on the verge of winning by acclamation is facing charges of impaired driving and impaired driving causing bodily harm.
Sunshine Coast RCMP issued a press release Nov. 2 saying the charges stem from their investigation of an accident that occurred Sept. 16, two days after the municipal election nomination period closed with White as the only candidate for mayor.
According to RCMP, the single-vehicle accident happened around 10:55 p.m. on Gower Point Road near 12th Street in Gibsons.
“Three occupants of the vehicle were all taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries,” the RCMP release said.
Charges were approved by Crown prosecutors on Oct. 24, and White is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 21.
In a statement released after he withdrew his candidacy for mayor, White said he’d been suffering worsening symptoms from a concussion suffered in a cycling accident.
“Like many concussions, it did not seem serious at first, but as time went on severe after-effects and other stress emerged,” White’s statement said. “My doctor has told me I should take a complete break from stressful activities to permit healing.
“My first mistake was in not heeding this advice and trying to carry on, which only caused my condition to worsen and has led to a compounding series of problems and poor judgment.”
On Friday, after the charges were made public, White issued the following statement:
"The last four months have been an unimaginably dark time in my life.
"As I’ve shared previously, I sustained a serious brain injury on July 1 in a bike accident. The impact of that injury was significant, preventing me from sleeping, and causing me extreme stress and cognitive difficulties. In September, I withdrew my name from the Town of Gibsons election.
"Additionally, while still dealing with the impacts of the concussion, I had been involved in a serious car accident, something I could not talk about at the time for a number of reasons, including protecting the privacy of others involved. I am extremely grateful for the Gibsons and District Volunteer Fire Department and other first responders who attended the scene.
"I had not been charged with anything at that time, but the accident clearly illustrated to me and my loved ones that my judgment that evening was severely compromised by my brain injury. I felt I owed it to myself, my family and my community to concentrate on my ongoing recovery and medical treatment, and eventually face the consequences of the accident, as a private citizen rather than pressing on as a public official. This is also why shortly thereafter, I withdrew my name from the mayoral election.
"Yesterday, I received a court summons for impaired driving causing bodily harm and causing an accident resulting in bodily harm. I have engaged legal counsel and hope to have these charges resolved as quickly as possible.
"I recognize there is media interest in this matter, and I feel that I made the right decision to step away from public life. I ask for privacy for my family, and will not be participating in interviews as this matter is now going before the court."