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The Dansville Online
  • Sheriff: Civilians stop drunk driver

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  • AVON– Three civilians may have put their lives on the line Monday night as they blocked off an allegedly drunk driver on Interstate 390.
    As a result of the actions taken by these three, the Livingston County Sheriff's Office was able to arrest and charge Paul A. Kostraba, 48, of Avon with driving while intoxicated, second-degree reckless endangerment and numerous traffic offenses.
    According to Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty, Kostraba was driving on I-390 when he side-swiped a tractor trailer and continued to drive. It was here that the first civilian noticed Kostraba's erratic driving and decided to take action.
    "This civilian was able to get in front of him coming off of exit 10 and start to brake," said Dougherty. "When Kostraba saw the car in front of him, he repeatedly rammed the back of the car."
    Whlie Kostraba was attempting to ram through the back of the front car, another civilian was able to drive up from behind and block Kostraba from reversing, according to deputies. Finally another civilian finished the blockade by pulling up on the side of Kostraba.
    "He damaged the vehicles in an attempt to get out," said Dougherty. "But the driver in the front car was able to put his car in park and pull the keys out of the ignition."
    While Dougherty does not generally encourage civilians to get involved in this type of high-risk situation, he acknowledged that the three motorists from Greece, Lima and Avon most likely stopped a potential accident.
    "I don't really condone civilians taking action like this," said Dougherty. "But after reading the report and talking to deputies, I am confident that these civilians saved lives. (Kostraba) could have gotten hurt or hurt others or even killed someone.
    According to deputies, Kostraba was also traveling with his wife and dog when the incident occurred.
    Dougherty stated that he personally called each person to thank them for their service.
    Kostraba was arraigned in the Town of Avon Court by Justice Peter Piampiano. According to Dougherty, Piampiano has revoked Kostraba's license due to the fact that Kostraba refused to take a breath test.
    Kostraba was remanded to the Livingston County Jail on $1,500 cash bail and will return to court at a later date.
    Assisting at the scene were deputies Paul Ricotta, Mike Williams, Chris Brosius, Avon Police Sgt. Joe Geer, NYS Trooper Larry LaRose and Sgt. Michael Dougherty.
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