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Discharge denied for man who drove drunk through checkstop

A Canmore man was denied a curative and conditional discharge in provincial court last week for charges of impaired driving and flight from police. Curtis Zarchekoff pleaded guilty to the two charges in front of Judge Les Grieve.

A Canmore man was denied a curative and conditional discharge in provincial court last week for charges of impaired driving and flight from police.

Curtis Zarchekoff pleaded guilty to the two charges in front of Judge Les Grieve.

Defence counsel John Schneider argued the 29-year-old should receive a curative discharge for the impaired driving charge and a conditional discharge for the flight from police charge.

Grieve, however, found the facts of the case aggravating and denied the application while at the same time commending Zarchekoff for the efforts he has taken to deal with his alcohol problem.

He said the accused’s disregard for the lives and safety of others on the highway deserves punishment.

“I am not satisfied the accused is in need of curative treatment and I am not satisfied it is not contrary to the public interest,” he said.

He fined Zarchekoff $1,500 for the impaired and imposed a one-year driving prohibition and another $1,500 fine for the flight charge.

Crown prosecutor Emanuel Vomberg told court Zarchekoff drove at a high rate of speed through a police checkstop on the Trans-Canada Highway in the eastbound lanes near the park gates on Jan. 21, 2010 just after midnight.

“This was a very dangerous situation. It would have been easy for one of more police officers to be injured,” said the Crown. “Police officers had to take personal evasive actions to get out of his way and he barreled through the checkstop without regard for those around.

“Police officers have a very risky job and when somebody puts their lives at risk, the courts take a very dim view of that.”

Vomberg said RCMP officers reached speeds upwards of 180 km/h to try and catch up with Zarchekoff’s vehicle.

He said when Zarchekoff reached Canmore he parked the car and fled on foot with a passenger.

“Officers found them attempting to hide in the bushes,” he said, adding his blood alcohol content at the time was twice the legal limit.

Vomberg said in light of the steps the accused has taken to mitigate the chance of reoffending, the Crown’s position with respect to sentence would be a jail term that can be served in the community.

Schneider said the facts did not support the suggestion of the Crown that officers were in danger or diving out of the way.

He said the very next day his client began to take steps to address issues with alcohol.

“To say this was a wake up call for Mr. Zarchekoff would be an under estimation,” Schneider said.

He argued it would not go against the public interest to grant the double discharge in light of those efforts so Zarchekoff can move forward in his life without a criminal record.


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