Monday, February 21, 2005
Stupid motorists, beware "The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office will invoke the state's 'stupid motorist law' for the first time, after a Cave Creek man drove around traffic barricades and tried to cross a flooded street last week in his Hummer.

The driver, Paul Zalewski, 47, reportedly ignored warnings not to enter Creek Canyon Road in Cave Creek on Friday.

But 'Hummers are made to float,' sheriff's spokesman Lt. Paul Chagolla said. 'Other people told him not to go in there, and he did it anyway,' endangering himself and six passengers, including three children.

Zalewski was cited for reckless driving. If he is found guilty of the charge in Cave Creek Municipal Court, he will be prosecuted under the state's stupid motorist law, which was passed in 1995 and requires drivers to reimburse the state for the cost of rescues.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Travis Anglin said the cost of the 55-minute rescue could exceed $800, based on hourly rates for fuel and maintenance of the rescue helicopter, two employees inside the aircraft, insurance and any damage sustained during rescue.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is considering charging another Cave Creek resident, Jacqueline Goodspeed, 65, for entering a flooded area near 58th Street and Desert Hills Drive despite warnings from officers.

Neither Zalewski or Goodspeed have yet been charged, but Arpaio said Wednesday that he intends to 'pursue the law' if they are found guilty of reckless driving.

'We basically have people who were told not to go around barricades, and they went anyway. It's rather stupid,' he said. "

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