Brothers return to Alberta

The Kenora native decided he would be the only one behind the wheel of his Grand Prix. The speed limit would be obeyed. He’d take time to rest during the 2,950-kilometre trip.

“We’re going to make a very safe trip,” he said Saturday.

Waring, 29, and his younger brother, Shawn Coolahan, 23, were stuck in Sault Ste. Marie for more than a week. Ontario Provincial Police stopped Waring’s car after a radar check on Highway 17 in Aweres Township on Aug. 14. Coolahan was driving.

He was charged with care and control of a motor vehicle with a blood/alcohol level of more than 80 milligrams, speeding and driving with no licence. Waring’s car was impounded for a week.

The pair were heading west after wrapping up a month-long visit with family in the Toronto area. Waring spent most of his savings to buy the car for the trip rather than drive his one-ton truck to Ontario.

The brothers spent what cash they had for three nights lodging at Comfort Suites and Conference Centre. Broke, they went to St. Vincent Place on Aug. 17.

Some residents decided to help them after their story appeared on the front page of The Sault Star on Friday and Saturday.

Two women, who didn’t want to be named, covered the impoundment fee. Ted Barnes and his son, Josh Booton, donated $150. Barnes worked the phones Friday to encourage others he knew to help Coolahan and Waring get back to their jobs in Alberta.

“We all do stupid things,” said Barnes, a former drug addict and alcoholic. “It doesn’t matter what level of stupidity it is, it’s not up to any one of us to judge.”

He planned to drop off more cash to the siblings on Saturday. But other commitments came up. He encouraged his contacts to go to St. Vincent Place directly. Waring said one man left $100 with a shelter attendant that morning.

He said he and Coolahan would accept, at most, $500 to cover their travel expenses. They wanted remaining cash to go to St. Vincent Place.

Waring and Coolahan wrote a letter of thanks to shelter general manager Nat Cicchelli noting “how much we appreciate everything they’ve given us.”

They shared a room with three other men.

A “scared” Coolahan was “really quiet” during the past week in the Sault “not knowing what to do,” said Waring.

“He felt very safe and comfortable here (at St. Vincent Place). It was like a giant sleepover with our family.”

They planned to be back at work by Wednesday. Waring is a safety supervisor at Berland River Safety.

Online reader reaction, on The Sault Star’s website and Facebook page, were split in two camps. Some felt no sympathy for the brothers, especially with an impaired driving charge involved. Others applauded Barnes and others who helped the pair out.

“I understand how it looks,” said Waring. “I’m sure if these people had met myself, my dog or my brother it might be a different ring to their bell. We have to take it as it is. We’re grateful for everyone that is supporting us. We’re just happy to go home.”

Coolahan, he added, “has learned his lesson.”

“I don’t think Shawn will ever forget this for the rest of his life,” said Waring. “I think that’s a very important message. He realizes what could have happened.”

Waring’s dog, Tye, was cared for on a farm near the city limits after Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society sheltered the year-old dog for several days.

On Twitter: @Saultreporter


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