Horse-Drawn Trolley Driver Punches Police Officer

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

ROCHESTER, Mich. (AP) -- The driver of a 30-passenger horse-drawn trolley sideswiped two cars at Rochester's Fire & Ice festival and later punched an officer in the face, police said.
Robert S. Warne, 35, of Lapeer was being held in the Oakland County jail on a felony charge of assaulting a police officer and is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday in circuit court.
Police found a half-empty bottle of vodka in Warne's pocket when they searched him, according to a Rochester police report from the Jan. 28 incident.
Warne's blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.07 percent when he was arrested, Rochester police Chief Steve Schettenhelm told the Detroit Free Press.
Drivers of motorized vehicles can be charged with drunken driving in Michigan with a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level, but state laws don't address horse-drawn vehicles, the chief said.
A Rochester police officer confronted Warne as he loaded up the horses for the night at 8:42 p.m. and asked him if he had been drinking.
According to the police report, Warne's reply was: "Yeah, so what."
As the officer tried to place Warne's hands behind his back to restrain him, Warne resisted. The officer said he had to use a stun gun, and Warne punched him in the face, the report said.
"When officers found him, they attempted to intervene because of his overindulgence in alcohol, and they ended up in a fight with him," Rochester police Lt. Dave Wenzel told The Oakland Press of Pontiac for a story Wednesday. "The officer ended up with a black eye, and he was also treated at a hospital for a sprained thumb, along with the fact that they ended up under a running truck, so he was treated for carbon monoxide poisoning as well."
Warne's father, Bob Warne, said the incident is uncharacteristic of his son.
Bob Warne runs the family's Lapeer-based business, Pinecrest Percherons and Carriages. His wife, Charlie, died Jan. 17, just before the festival got under way.
"(Robert) could give me no explanation as to what happened," at the festival, Bob Warne said. "I know he'd had a hard time dealing with (his mother's death)."
The company has been providing rides with its horse-drawn trolley at the Fire & Ice Festival for about eight years, he said.
Bob Warne said he "took care" of the two damaged vehicles.

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