If he hadn’t run from police, he wouldn’t have been in trouble in the first place.
A man who fled police officers while being arrested on suspicion of impaired driving needn’t have — it turns out, he wasn’t driving drunk after all.
Instead, he was charged with obstructing a peace officer for his dash and wound up in more trouble when he missed a later court date.
“The unfortunate thing is, if Mr. Stranieri had not run he’d be facing no charges at this point,” Crown attorney Marycia Kruk said in Brandon court on Thursday.
Franco Aaron Stranieri, 26, pleaded guilty to obstructing a police officer and failing to attend court.
On July 18, police stopped a vehicle after it failed to stop at a stop sign.
Police believed the driver, Stranieri, had been drinking and he failed a roadside screening test.
When the officer advised him that he was under arrest, Stranieri ran.
He ran along a number of streets before the pursuing officer lost sight of him and called in backup officers to set up a perimeter.
Stranieri was finally found and arrested in a yard.
In the end, though, he wasn’t charged with impaired driving because tests showed that he had a blood-alcohol level at about the legal limit.
Instead, he was given a Sept. 10 court date for the obstruction allegation — a court date that he missed.
Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta noted that, if Stranieri hadn’t fled, he not only would have avoided the impaired driving charge but the obstructing a peace officer charge too.
If he hadn’t been charged with obstruction, he wouldn’t have been given a court date to miss.
The most he would have received was a 24-hour driving suspension for failing the roadside screening test.
Stranieri told court that he simply panicked. Hewitt-Michta noted that Stranieri had a previous conviction for drunk driving and would face jail if found guilty of impaired driving again.
Hewitt-Michta fined Stranieri $1,000 on the obstruction charge and $150 for failing to attend court.