Alberta man arrested in Quebec during cross-Canada charity run
Published Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:35PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 3, 2012 8:21PM EDT
MONTREAL--An Alberta man's mission to run across Canada for charity was interrupted Monday when he was arrested in Quebec and told he couldn't run along his chosen route.
Curtis Hargrove, 23, was arrested on the Trans-Canada highway near Quebec City and charged with obstructing police.
He explained his ordeal in a roadside interview with CTV Montreal’s Camille Ross near St-Jean-Port-Joli--about 120 kilometres northeast of Quebec City.
“I have been in Quebec for three days, I had run 150 km on the Trans Canada Highway, and run into about six police officers,” he said, noting that none of them had any objections until Monday when he was told that he cannot run beside the highway.
“I said you are the first person to tell me I can’t run here,” he said, noting that in the Maritimes he even had police escorts.
Nonetheless he takes some of the blame for the long interrogation and subsequent charges.
“It is my fault, I was stubborn, I wanted to prove a point, I am doing something for charity and will not give up until I raise a million dollars."
"I love my journey in Quebec so far, if you watch my videos on Facebook, I’m speaking French, I don’t speak well but I took it in high school, people have given me donations.”
He said that he has received many offers for free legal service, as he won’t be able to attend the September 21 court date, as he’ll still be running across the country by then.
In the end, he signed a promise not to run on the Trans-Canada while in Quebec.
Just a few hours earlier, Hargrove posted that a bunch of "16 year-old punks" had tried to vandalize his RV, ripping off a Canada flag and attempting to remove signs advertising his goal.
It wasn't clear whether there was a connection between the vandalism and the negative comments that had emerged.
Hargrove is running across Canada with the goal of raising $1 million for the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation.
Hargrove began his journey on May 1 in Newfoundland.
He originally planned to raise money for The Terry Fox Foundation, but after visiting an 11-year-old cancer patient at the Stollery hospital he decided to direct donations to that institution instead.
An SQ spokeswoman said Tuesday the officer gave 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 Mathieu, who noted the law is in place as a safety measure.
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.
Hargrove said the friend driving the RV was fined $52 for parking on the shoulder of the highway at the time of his arrest.
His goal is to raise $1 million for the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation and he has so far collected $14,000 during a run he expects to complete in the fall.
"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."
--with files from The Canadian Press.