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Hogansburg man jailed for 90 days for driving without interlock ignition device

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MASSENA - A 41-year-old Hogansburg man was sentenced to 90 days in jail after he admitted he was driving a vehicle without the required interlock ignition device following a drinking and driving conviction.

The sentence will run concurrently with a term Charles A. Cook of 48 Laughing Road, Hogansburg, is currently serving in the Franklin County Jail. Cook told Massena Town Justice James M. Crandall that he is scheduled to be released from the Franklin County Jail on Jan. 14.

He will also face mandatory fines and surcharges after pleading guilty to third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and circumventing an interlock ignition device requirement in a plea bargain agreement that satisfied several other charges.

Massena-based state police charged Charles A. Cook, 41, of 48 Laughing Road with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and petit larceny, operation of his vehicle outside restrictions requiring him to have an ignition interlock device on any vehicle he operated and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle stemming from an incident that took place at approximately 8 p.m. June 22.

Cook told the court he was ironworker and eager to get his jail time completed. “I do have a job waiting for me. I’ve got a job in Rome as soon as I get released,” he said.

He allegedly took a 2004 vehicle belonging to his girlfriend, Cary Bero, without her permission while she was inside the Mobil gas station in the town of Massena. The petit larceny count alleges Cook threw Ms. Bero’s cell phone out of the vehicle a few minutes earlier while they were on state Route 37.

She told troopers she had not given Cook permission to take her vehicle when she stopped at the Mobil station on Route 37 to use the bathroom as they were returning home after picking up a car part in Massena.

“Prior to this incident, Charles has been acting weird lately. When I came back out, the car was gone. Charles does not have a license. At no time did I give him permission to take my car. Charles also threw my cell phone out of the window before we got to the gas station. I don’t know why he did that,” she said, noting in her statement to police that her Blackberry was valued at approximately $200.

Cook, in his statement to police, admitted he had taken his girlfriend’s vehicle. “While Cary was inside (the Mobil station), I got into the driver’s seat and drive away. I drove directly to a friend’s house on Cook Road and stayed there all night,” he said, noting he was woken up at 9:15 a.m. the next morning by a tribal police officer investigating a stolen vehicle complaint, taken into custody and turned over to state police.

But Cook, in his statement, denied damaging Ms. Bero’s cell phone. He claimed she grabbed his cell phone out of his hands and threw it out the passenger window and then threw her own cell phone out that same window.

“We were arguing over text messages I received from my ex-wife in reference to my children I have with my ex-wife. Cary thinks I am trying to get back with my ex-wife,” he said in his statement.

In other recent court action before Judge Crandall:

■ David J. Lavalley, 62, of 107 South Grasse River Road, Massena, was fined $300 and an $85 surcharge for operating a vehicle that was rented, leased or loaned that did not have a required interlock ignition device. He was also placed under a one-year conditional discharge.

Lavalley had been charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and operation of a vehicle outside of restrictions for failing to have an interlock ignition device on the vehicle he was operating following a driving while intoxicated conviction following an accident at 9:55 a.m. July 1.

Massena-based state police said George Levac of 1600 Princess St., Cornwall, Ont., was eastbound on Route 37 and turned left to enter the International Bridge Road near U.S. Customs in Rooseveltown. The camper he was pulling collided with a 2007 Dodge pickup being operated by Lavalley. Troopers said Lavalley was westbound on Route 37 at the time of the 9:55 a.m. accident.

“Mr. Levac was attempting to turn onto the bridge road. He had a green light, but not a green arrow. He made the turn, when he was doing so, Mr. Lavalley was travelling westbound. He also had a green light and struck the trailer/camper,” Trooper Jonathan White said at the time of the accident.

Levac was ticketed for failure to yield on a green light.

■ Jonathan A. Fahd, 23, of 55 Westwood Drive, Massena, was fined $300 and a $260 surcharge for a driving while ability impaired conviction. His operating privileges were suspended for 90 days, and he was placed under a one-year conditional discharge with stipulations he be evaluated and follow any recommended treatment program.

Massena-based state police had charged Jonathan A. Fahd, 23, of Massena with driving while intoxicated and ticketed him for speeding following a traffic stop at 1:03 a.m. Aug. 24 on Andrews Street in the village of Massena. Troopers said he had been stopped for speed in zone (46/30). He had a blood alcohol content of 0.09 percent.

■ Nathan S. Barnes, 25, of 181 St. Regis Road, Hogansburg, was fined $300 and a $260 surcharge for driving while ability impaired and fined an additional $25 for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. His operating privileges were suspended for 90 days.

Barnes had been stopped by Massena-based state police after allegedly failing to stop at a red arrow on Route 131 at Route 37 in the town of Massena at 12:55 a.m. Nov. 4. Troopers had charged him with driving while intoxicated. He reportedly had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent, nearly double the 0.08 threshold for a DWI charge.

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