Unless you’ve been charged with drunk driving or you’ve been affected by a drunk driver in some way, you’ll probably never experience a drunk driving trial or sentencing. That’s a good thing, because it can go one of two ways: the offender decides to plead guilty and skip the trial to go straight to sentencing, or they plead not guilty and everyone involved endures a lengthy trial. Either way, it’s not something you want to live through as an offender or a family member.
Although some drunk driving trails are straight forward, even if the offender pleads not guilty, others are high profile and you’ll probably see and hear a lot of things you might not expect. Marcello Fracassi, a man from Alliston, Ontario, is the offender at the center of just such a drunk driving trial, and the media is publishing every intimate detail.
Fracassi is accused of killing Geoffrey Gaston, a town worker who was painting traffic lines on Main Street in the middle of the night. Fracassi crashed into Gaston and killed him while also injuring his co-worker, and then fled the scene. When he was finally caught he submitted to a breathalyzer test and his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was more than twice the legal limit, and that was three hours after the crash.
The difference between this drunk driving case and others is what Fracassi has shared at trial and what his defense strategy has been. He maintains he remembers nothing from the crash, he believes he was sleep-driving at the time, and for some reasons, his night time bathroom habits have come into play.
Turns out Fracassi had been having medical issues that resulted in his urinating in the closets and on clothes in his home, and his wife testified that she felt like he had a brain tumour because of how he behaved in the evenings.
Although the prosecutor offered up the explanation that Fracassi may have been drunk at the time he was blacking out or going to the bathroom in all the wrong places, with Fracassi admitting he sometimes snuck a bottle of alcohol when his wife wasn’t looking, Fracassi’s wife testified that she didn’t believe that. Neither did his victim’s widow: when presented with the information about his sleepwalking and medical blackouts, Gaston’s widow accused Fraccassi of ‘wimping out’ and hiding behind his sleeping defense.
This is just one example of a drunk driving trial, and there are thousands more across the country every year. Thankfully it’s easy to avoid being the center of a situation like this. All you have to do is think before you drink, and never get behind the wheel of a car after you do.