Suspended driver gets 20 months for dragging OPP officer

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Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative

A suspended driver who dragged a Corunna OPP officer whose arm was caught in the vehicle has been sentenced to 20 months in jail.

The frightening scene “which could have ended much more tragically” was recounted in Sarnia Court during sentencing for Preston Siklosi recently. Siklosi, 29, attempted to flee from police twice.

It was just after 8 pm on Mar. 6, 2019 when a Lambton OPP officer pulled over an SUV that was drifting back and forth over the Hill St. centre line in Corunna. The officer found Siklosi was suspended for unpaid fines and told him to turn off the vehicle.

Siklosi protested, and when the officer reached into the black Kia Sorento to take the keys, Siklosi took off. The officer’s arm was stuck in the SUV as it sped up Colborne St., dragging him 40 feet before he was thrown to the ground.

Siklosi blew threw a stop sign and escaped, but was arrested three hours later at the Chipican Motel in Sarnia.

Justice Krista Leszczynski says the flight posed a “particularly dangerous set of circumstances… where the officer’s life was quite frankly in jeopardy.”

Leszczynski agreed with the Crown’s submission of consecutive six month sentences for both the assault on the officer and fleeing the scene.

Siklosi was released following his motel arrest, but just six months later was back on police radar in a high speed crash in St. Clair where a black Chevy Camaro flew off Mandaumin Road before rolling and smashing into the ditch near Moore Line.

Witnesses saw a man, Siklosi, climb out of the wreckage and into a waiting SUV – a Kia Sorento – driven by his wife.

Police contacted the owner of the Camaro, a Plympton-Wyoming man who told them his house had just been robbed and his car stolen.

Sarnia Police camped out at the home of the Sorento’s owner and were rewarded the next night when Siklosi and his wife returned. They initially escaped, blowing through an alley and speeding away. But a few days later the pair was finally arrested.

Leszczynski again agreed to Crown Attorney David Rows’ request for consecutive sentences totalling one year.

“The Crown’s position is very reasonable in light of the very serious nature of these offenses, and the risk that you put the community at during the course of your conduct in both of these circumstances,” she says.

“A lot of these decisions my client made were rooted in untreated mental health,” says Defense Lawyer Terry Brandon. “We often hear of people who self-medicate and get into a drug addiction… and it’s not a good mix.”

“I’d like to apologize to the court, the community, and the victims for my poor lack of judgement due to heavy drug use as well as bipolar disorder, which led to my regretful crime spree,” says Siklosi. “While being incarcerated I’ve had the time to reflect on my past and make new plans for the future, straying away from the path of drug use.”
“I’m counting my blessings and I’m asking for one more chance to prove myself,” says Siklosi.

Leszczynski altered Siklosi’s sentence slightly, reducing total time from 24 to 20 months to “reflect the nature of the hardships you’ve experienced during your pre-sentence custody,” referencing Sarnia Jail’s recent COVID outbreak.

With time served Siklosi has 10 months and 11 days remaining.

Restitution also factored into the sentence. “You stole not only a motor vehicle, which you then wrecked, but you stole that family’s most precious items, those which are irreplaceable and which I understand have not been returned,” Leszczynski says of the Plympton-Wyoming break and enter. Stolen family photos and mementos were never recovered.

Siklosi will pay $1,000 to the homeowner and just short of $30,000 to the insurance company. Bans include no driving for three years, no drugs or alcohol for two years, and no weapons for 10 years.

Siklosi’s two year probation following his release also includes mandatory counselling for trauma, anti-criminal thinking, substance abuse, healthy relationships, and marketable skills.

He must stay away from the house he robbed and give back the items, as well as provide a DNA sample.

  • The Independent
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