Tracy Holmes photo Yuriy Makogonsky in front of his restaurant. Yuriy Makogonsky, owner of Moby Dick Fish & Chips, in the parking lot across from his Marine Drive business, where he tried to stop an impaired driver from hitting the road. (Tracy Holmes photo)

B.C. restaurateur tries to keep impaired driver from road

Patron could barely stand, says owner of White Rock waterfront eatery

White Rock police are investigating a report of an impaired driver, following a restaurateur’s efforts to stop a car from leaving the city’s waterfront.

Yuriy Makogonsky, owner of Moby Dick Fish & Chips on Marine Drive, said the Sept. 30 incident – in which he twice put himself in the path of the same vehicle to try to stop the driver from getting on the road – “was scary.”

But while he’d likely approach any future incident somewhat differently, Makogonsky said he still wouldn’t hesitate to take steps.

“I wouldn’t say that I would do this again, in terms of trying to stop the running car,” he told Peace Arch News last week. “Yes, I would do the same again.”

Makogonsky said the incident unfolded after a diner was denied her order for alcohol with her meal, based on signs she was already intoxicated. Those signs included that the woman had taken food from one diner’s plate and knocked into another.

He said the woman – who he estimates was in her mid-50s – and her companion left without finishing their meals, and he followed them out because he was concerned she might get behind the wheel.

“Not only did she have those signs of impairment… she was barely standing on her feet,” he said. “When she left the restaurant, she walked a few feet then she was leaning on my patio fence.”

Makogonsky said he first warned that he would call police. When that didn’t work, he stood behind her vehicle, hitting its trunk to ensure she knew he was there.

When the vehicle backed toward him, Makogonsky said he laid on the trunk, then jumped away to avoid injury.

He ran in front of the car, but the driver persisted, he said. She “directed her vehicle right into me, so I had to lie down on the front of the vehicle in order to not end up under the wheels.

“The car didn’t stop and continued to drag me further. I felt that she wasn’t going to stop no matter what I did.”

The driver took off eastbound.

Makogonsky said he called 911 during the ordeal, however officers did not immediately respond. While Makogonsky was initially critical of the delay, White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Daryl Creighton explained it was a result of “information available to police at the time.”

“It wasn’t until later that police became aware of the citizen’s efforts to stop the reported impaired driver,” Creighton told Peace Arch News by email.

Creighton would not comment further on the delay, but said the “actions of the driver have been duly noted and the investigation remains active.”

Creighton said police appreciate the public’s assistance in stopping in-progress crime, but he cautioned Good Samaritans “to evaluate their own limitations.”

Anyone with information that could identify the driver may contact White Rock RCMP at 778-593-3600.

tholmes@peacearchnews.com

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