Man arrested in Quebec during cross-Canada charity run
Published Tuesday, July 3, 2012 11:26AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 4, 2012 7:23AM EDT
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 the Trans-Canada Highway.
Curtis Hargrove, 23, was arrested near Quebec City and charged with obstructing police for allegedly refusing an officer’s demand that he get off the highway.
“I didn't know I couldn’t do that,” Hargrove told CTV Montreal after he was released from police custody.
“I ran on the Trans-Canada Highway all the way from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and I hadn't had a problem. I had escorts and everything.”
Hargrove was 45 days into his cross-Canada run to raise $1 million for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation in Edmonton when he was arrested by the Quebec provincial police.
The Surete du Quebec said that running along the highway is a security code infraction and there are safer alternatives, such as running on secondary roads.
A police spokeswoman said Tuesday the officer who arrested Hargrove gave the runner every opportunity to get off the highway and even offered to map out a new route for him on Highway 132, which runs parallel to Trans-Canada.
"He refused the options given by the officer -- the officer had no other choice but to arrest him," said Sgt. Ann Mathieu.
Hargrove said he spent five hours in police custody, refusing to sign a paper saying he would continue his run only along secondary highways.
“I was being stubborn. I said: ‘You know I do have a point to prove.’” Hargrove said.
“I know people might not like that but I'm doing something for charity…and I'm not going to stop at all costs.”
In the end, however, Hargrove signed the form and agreed to change his route. He will deal with the charge against him in a Quebec court in September.
Hargrove’s 19-year-old driver, Morgan Seward, also got into trouble -- she was given a traffic ticket.
“I think it’s (for being) parked in an area or on the road where the speed limit is greater than 70 kilometres per hour,” she told CTV Montreal. “It was written in French so I had to translate it.”
The incident has given Hargrove a publicity boost, drawing attention to his Facebook and Twitter pages, where he had been posting updates on his endeavour.
"Just wanted to let you know I'm out. I was being a little stubborn, but I needed to prove a point that I am running for charity and I will not stop at all costs. THANKS EVERYONE FOR YOUR SUPPORT," Hargrove posted on Facebook after police released him.
Just seven hours later, Hargrove posted another status update, urgently asking his Facebook followers to "put the negative views aside and stop bashing, as it is only making things worse for me."
The message came after a number of Hargrove's supporters posted messages on his Facebook page criticizing the Quebec provincial police.
Hargrove said he had met many supportive people in Quebec, and urged everyone to remain positive.
"Remember we are doing this for the CHILDREN!! Thank you for your continued support and please respect my wishes," he wrote.
Hargrove 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.
Terry Fox himself was forced to run on secondary highways in Quebec during his 1980 Marathon of Hope after police threatened him with arrest.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Camille Ross and files from The Canadian Press