An Albertan man attempting to run across Canada for charity was arrested in Quebec for taking his journey along the shoulder of the busy Trans-Canada Highway.
Curtis Hargrove faces a charge of obstructing justice after he refused a police officer’s demand Monday that he get off the autoroute near St-Jean-Port-Joli, about 120 kilometres northeast of Quebec City.
Mr. Hargrove didn’t understand why he was asked to leave the roadside, particularly since he said other Quebec police patrollers had stopped to talk to him the day before without a hint of a warning.
Right before his arrest, he told police he would keep running regardless.
”They said, ‘Well, unfortunately we’ll have to arrest you,’ “ said Mr. Hargrove, who’s raising money for a children’s hospital in Edmonton.
“I kinda was being stubborn to kinda prove a point that I am doing something for charity.”
The 23-year-old, who has been running about 50 kilometres a day since he left Newfoundland in early May, slipped out of his reflective vest and took off his iPod before police drove him to a station in Quebec City.
Mr. Hargrove was handed a Sept. 21 court date and released a few hours later after signing a written promise not to run on the Trans-Canada in Quebec.
The runner’s route through the rest of the province has since been redrawn to follow a secondary highway parallel to the Trans-Canada.
The native of Cold Lake said he understands the officer was just doing his job.
He doesn’t regret his decision, even though he’s facing the prospect of a criminal record.
“If I do end up with something over a charity like this, I guess I’ll have to deal with it,” he said Tuesday from the town of St-Romuald, across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City.
“It is unfortunate. I’m doing something for charity — you would think I’d get a little bit of leeway.”
A Quebec provincial police spokeswoman said Tuesday the officer gave Mr. Hargrove every opportunity to get off the Trans-Canada and avoid the arrest.
Sgt. Ann Mathieu said police even offered to draw out a route for him on Highway 132, a secondary road.
“He refused the options given by the officer — the officer had no other choice but to arrest him,” said Sgt. Mathieu, who noted the law is in place as a safety measure.
Mr. Hargrove said he didn’t have any problems on the Trans-Canada during the first two months of a route, which began in St. John’s and continued through the Maritime provinces.
He felt he was taking the necessary safety precautions by wearing the reflective vest and having an RV accompany him along the way.
Mr. Hargrove said the friend driving the RV was fined $52 for parking on the shoulder of the highway at the time of his arrest.
“It’s the best thing that could probably happen,” he said about the publicity boost that media coverage of his arrest could have on fundraising.
“You don’t wish for things like (the arrest) to happen, but in a way it’s really good.”
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