Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 3, 2012

Downstate officer guilty of drunken boating

Jury convicts man in Torch Lake pontoon boat incident

BY BRIAN McGILLIVARY
bmcgillivary@record-eagle.com

BELLAIRE — A jury convicted a downstate police officer of driving a boat while intoxicated on Torch Lake during last summer's Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Marine officers with the Antrim County Sheriff's Department attempted to stop Canton Township police Officer Peter Michael Alestra, 33, for violating a no-wake zone near the mouth of the Torch River on July 2.

Alestra refused to stop his pontoon boat, despite commands from officers, and proceeded to shore where he docked and left the boat, Antrim County Prosecutor Charles Koop said in a prepared release.

During the officers' investigation, Alestra requested numerous times to be "shown some courtesy" as a police officer, Koop said. He refused a breath test and officers obtained a warrant to draw blood, which registered a blood alcohol level of 0.12 percent. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

The jury deliberated more than two hours Friday before returning a guilty verdict in 86th District Court.

Judge Michael Haley sentenced Alestra to five days of community service, $1,150 in fines and costs; 12 months of probation and a ban on driving a boat for one year. He can't consume or possess alcohol or enter bars, and must take and pass daily alcohol breath tests.