Taxi driver takes drunk passenger who refused to wear mask directly to police station

A taxi driver whose drunken New Year’s Day passenger refused to wear a mask in his cab drove straight to Victoria police station where the man was arrested and fined a total of $690.

The driver called 911 just after 1 a.m. to report that a man was refusing to wear a mask in his cab, touching the driver’s face and “belligerently” refusing requests to adhere to guidelines under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act, police said.

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When it arrived at Victoria Police Department’s headquarters on 850 Caledonia Ave., the cab was met by officers.

The passenger refused to leave the vehicle and was removed and taken into custody, police said.

The man was fined $230 on each count of failing to wear a facial covering, abusive or belligerent behaviour, and failing to comply with the direction of an officer.

He was also ticketed for being intoxicated in a public place and was jailed until sober.

The incident was one of 102 calls for service received by Victoria police over Thursday night and Friday morning. They included more than a dozen reports of gatherings, including house parties and parties in hotel rooms, and an alleged assault in Beacon Hill Park.

Police officers broke up the gatherings that contravened COVID-19 restrictions and issued warnings. On Aug. 21, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced enforcement tools for police and fines up to $2,300 for people who intentionally ignore provincial health orders related to COVID-19.

Just before 11 p.m. on Thursday, patrol officers were flagged down by a couple who reported they had been assaulted with a weapon by a man in Beacon Hill Park.

The couple said they were attacked after trying to sit on a bench next to some belongings, police said. The couple did not require medical treatment. The suspect was quickly located by police and taken into custody. He was released on a promise to return. The investigation continues.

Sales of alcohol in bars, restaurants and liquor stores stopped at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, as ordered by the provincial health officer. Police said they had a busier night than expected.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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