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Edmonton man charged in hit-and-run that broke Burnaby Mountie's arm

Officer was hit after trying to stop a man for distracted driving on July 4, 2018
Burnaby RCMP were on scene after a July 4, 2018 hit-and-run that left a local Mountie with a broken arm. An Edmonton man has now been charged.

A 32-year-old Edmonton man has been charged in a hit-and-run that broke a Mountie’s arm in Burnaby more than three-and-a-half years ago.

At about 10 a.m. on July 4, 2018, an officer tried to stop a grey Dodge Nitro SUV by a gas station at the corner of Willingdon Avenue and Parker Street, according to a Burnaby RCMP news release at the time.

Police said the driver appeared to have been using an electronic device behind the wheel, and the Mountie, who was on foot, signalled for him to pull over, but the driver ignored her and took off southbound on Willingdon – hitting the officer in the process.

After an investigation that lasted three-and-a-half years, charges related to the incident were laid against Fabian Ernesto Argenal Lopez on Feb. 1.

He was arrested in Alberta on Feb. 3 and released the same day pending a court date back in B.C., according to Burnaby RCMP.

“Investigations like this one can be labour intensive and time consuming," spokesperson Cpl. Mike Kalanj said in an emailed statement. "While it has been over three years, our criminal collision investigation team worked diligently and followed the evidence in order to bring this file before the courts.”

Argenal Lopez appeared in Vancouver provincial court Wednesday to face one count each of leaving the scene of an accident involving bodily harm, wilfully resisting or obstructing an officer and driving while prohibited.

At the time of the July 4, 2018 incident, Argenal Lopez was already facing a charge of driving while prohibited in Vancouver in March 2018, according to Court Services Online.

A warrant had been issued for his arrest after he failed to show up for a court date on that charge in May 2018.

Argenal Lopez has since relocated to Edmonton, according to defence lawyer Justin Myers.

Ironically, an attempt to get his licence back might have helped Burnaby police catch up with him, Myers said.

“He made an application to get his licence back, which is how I suspect the police got wind of him and knew where he was living,” Myers told the court. “They proceeded to arrest him there.”

But Myers noted Argenal Lopez had made his own way to Vancouver for his bail hearing Wednesday after being released in Alberta.

Crown prosecutor Margaret MacKie called for Argenal Lopez to be released on a $10,000 promise to pay, with conditions, including reporting to a bail supervisor, not moving without notifying his bail supervisor and not being in the driver’s seat of any vehicle without a “valid and subsisting driver’s licence.”

Vancouver provincial court Judge Maria Giardini agreed with the conditions, made the order and set his next court date for March 2.

But Giardini didn’t let Argenal Lopez go without a stern warning.

She said he was lucky not to have been held in custody until his bail hearing.

“There would always be the risk, if that happened, that a judge might see your failure to report in 2018 and your behaviour since as being someone who thumbs their nose at court orders, and you could have been detained for more significant conditions, including monetary conditions that could have been placed on your bail. So, what I’m trying to tell you is, don’t screw it up,” she said.

“No, I won’t,” Argenal Lopez replied.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor