'Sleep' driver drunk when he killed road worker: Judge
Geoff Gaston's widow, Tanya, leaves court with their two sons, Josh and Tim. (TRACY MCLAUGHLIN PHOTO)
An Alliston man who claimed he was “sleep driving” when he struck and killed a man while in a drunken stupor has a “credibility problem,” a judge said Tuesday.
“There is no doubt in my mind he was impaired,” said Justice Cary Boswell as he found Marcello Fracassi guilty of drunk driving causing death and drunk driving causing bodily harm.
Geoff Gaston, 41, a father and volunteer firefighter, was thrown several metres when he was struck and killed by Fracassi who drove home at 2:50 a.m. on June 20, 2014, following a guys-night-out at a heavy metal concert and strip bar.
A co-worker, Jane Fuller, — the two were town employees — was also struck and injured.
Gaston and Fuller wore reflective clothing as they painted road lines on the main street of Alliston that night.
Fracassi testified he suffers from a medical sleep disorder called parasomnia.
“Sometimes I don’t remember that I had sex with my wife or that I peed on the floor in the night,” he said.
He also testified he often sneaks to his basement and chugs up to a half bottle of gin before bed. He said he “must have” guzzled a half bottle of gin after the collision, which would explain why his alcohol readings were so high.
The judge didn’t believe him.
“His inference that he must have sleep-guzzled a bottle of gin after the collision is beyond belief,” said Boswell, who noted Fracassi’s breath readings would have been almost three times the legal limit at the time of the collision.
The judge determined Fracassi was likely asleep when he struck his victims — sleep triggered by intoxication rather than a medical disorder.The judge said he believed Fracassi did not realize he had struck and killed anyone, and therefore acquitted him on dangerous driving and failing to remain at the scene.
As he gave his verdict two women broke down sobbing.
One was Fracassi’s wife, who wailed and staggered as if in pain as police snapped handcuffs on her husband — whose bail was revoked — and took him away. The other, the heart-broken widow of the man he killed.
“I knew all along that he was guilty,” said widow Tanya Gaston with tears streaming down her cheeks as she stood outside of court with her two grieving sons. “Yet he chose to drag my family through this rather than be a real man and plead guilty.”
“He was the best dad you could ever have,” said Gaston’s son, Tim, 18. “He was my hero.”
Fracassi will be back in court for sentencing Dec. 21.