Dustin Hamilton has an 8,000 watt amplifier powered by five car batteries in the back of his PT Cruiser, but he can no longer play it while in Central Saanich. (Hugo Wong/News staff)

Car audio installer silenced for now

The stretch of West Saanich Rd. between Wallace Dr. and Keating Cross Rd. is bucolic, the winding forest route dotted with signs pointing to the famous Butchart Gardens. But Dustin Hamilton will have to enjoy this scene by foot, because the sound of his stereo resulted in a driving prohibition in that area, and a blanket ban on operating a car stereo while in Central Saanich.

Hamilton, 24, said he has no criminal history until this point, and that the trouble started when someone followed his PT Cruiser from Brentwood to Saanichton over the summer.

“So, here I am, driving, doing my thing, girlfriend back and forth to work, and then we get this one retired guy in Brentwood or whatever who just doesn’t like it, and he followed me to basically the bank and then it all started going from there.”

He was then boxed in at an RBC parking lot on Aug. 13 and that’s where police said a physical altercation occurred.

“I went to the cop station to press charges and they ended up putting me under arrest when all I was doing was trying to go get dinner,” said Hamilton.

After that incident, Hamilton received charges for the excessive noise, as well as an assault charge for the altercation. This was on top of around 17 complaints from neighbours over the summer.

Cpl. Dan Cottingham of the Central Saanich Police said he could not comment on the specifics of that incident as it is before the courts, but he did say that officers have contacted him repeatedly since May to turn it down.

“His attitude towards the police warnings was quite defiant, according to members, so he knew what was at stake,” said Cottingham.

Hamilton has been a music fan for years. Before he became a car audio installer, he spent time at Sound Solutions where he said “they closed at six, I stayed there ‘til nine talking audio.” He said he and his girlfriend listen to many different genres.

“We listen to rap, hip hop, rock, everything. We’ve tried it all. They just don’t seem to care.”

Hamilton said that he is not against turning it down.

“I don’t know how loud it is from the outside. Man, I’m just living life. doing my thing. And if someone asked me nicely and said ‘I live here,’ it wouldn’t be an issue; I’d have no problem. You got kids or something? Yeah, totally, I’ll turn it down by there, but you can’t fix something when you don’t know what’s wrong, right?”

His court date is on Oct. 25.

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