Drunk driving case concludes after six years

Driver with open beer, three-times over limit, makes dangerous pass on Trans-Canada and crashes into motor home – but gets no jail time

More than six years after crashing into a motor home while driving drunk through Rogers Pass, a Calgary-man finally faced the music in Revelstoke Court on Dec. 5.

Adam Cieselski, 35, was driving along the Trans-Canada Highway through Rogers Pass on Sept. 29, 2006, when he made a dangerous passing attempt and collided with an oncoming motorhome.

That motorhome was being driven to Florida, where it was to be used in the re-election campaign for governer Jeb Bush, the brother George Bush, who was U.S. president at the time.

After the crash, Cieselski and the front-seat passenger ate bread buns and threw away the beer cans they were drinking. A third passenger was injured and $147,000 in damages was done to the motor home.

Ciesielski gave a breathalyzer reading of almost three times the legal limit. He was charged with dangerous driving, impaired driving and driving over the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08.

His case dragged through the court system. He made his first appearance in Revelstoke court in October 2007. His trial began in September 2008 but his lawyer retired before concluding remarks and it eventually drifted from the court schedule – the last set date was July 26, 2010.

Then, in March 2012, Ciesielski’s name re-appeared on the docket. In July, after some time was taken for new lawyers to update themselves on the case, closing arguments were read. Justice Edmund De Walle found him guilty on all three counts but sentencing was delayed to the judge’s scheduling.

Finally, last Wednesday, Dec. 5, Cieselski was sentenced – and it appears the lengthy court process helped him avoid a harsher sentence.

During sentencing, Crown prosecutor Bill Hilderman asked for two to three months in prison and a three- to five-year driving prohibition. He pointed out the fact Cieselski was drinking while driving, and had made a dangerous passing maneuver that could have resulted in serious injury or death. He also noted Cieselski had a previous impaired conviction on his record dating to 2004.

Cieselski’s lawyer Melissa Klages focused on his life since the incident. She said he was working full time as a sous chef at a Calgary hotel, was in a long-term relationship, was about to purchase a home and that the couple was expecting their first child.

Justice De Walle was sympathetic to the maturation Cieselski had shown in the six years since the incident. He said Ciesielski wasn’t a danger to the public and prison time would cause havoc for his family.

De Walle handed down a two-year driving prohibition, $200 in fines and a 90-day conditional sentence, during which Ciesielski can’t consume any drugs or alcohol.

“I accept you’ve come around and understand your behavior was immature,” De Walle said.

 

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