Hash­ing it out over hash browns

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - News - By So­phie Vaughan

WEST­PORT — A West­port man who claims po­lice mis­took a hash brown for a cell­phone while charg­ing him with dis­tracted driv­ing is now em­broiled in a court bat­tle to prove his in­no­cence.

“I’m go­ing to trial for jus­tice,” Ja­son Stiber said.

Around 6 a. m. on April 11, Stiber said he bought a hash brown at the McDon­ald’s on the Nor­walk bor­der and was then pulled over by West­port Po­lice Cpl. Wong Won near the West­port Whole Foods on Post Road West.

“I was eat­ing a hash brown and he thought he saw a cell­phone near my mouth,” Stiber said, not­ing he told Cpl. Wong he was not on his cell­phone but was given a $ 300 dis­tracted driv­ing ticket re­gard­less.

Stiber said he had no rea­son to put his phone up to his ear be­cause he has blue­tooth, and pro­vided phone records that show he did not make any calls in the hour he re­ceived the ticket.

A West­port res­i­dent since 2007, Stiber first went to trial to fight the ticket in Au­gust be­fore a mag­is­trate judge, who found him guilty de­spite Stiber’s pre­sen­ta­tion of the phone ac­tiv­ity records. Stiber then re­quested a re­trial, which is set to oc­cur at state Su­pe­rior Court in Nor­walk on Dec. 7.

“He was pulled over for talk­ing on his cell­phone and given an in­frac­tion. I’m sure his claim is dif­fer­ent,” Lt. Jil­lian Ca­bana said, but could not com­ment fur­ther due to the pend­ing case.

To pre­pare for the re­trial, Stiber hired a lawyer for $ 1,000, about the same price he said his driver’s in­sur­ance in­creased due to the ticket. [email protected] hearst­medi­act. com; 203- 842- 2638; @ So­phieCVaughan1

Lori Van Buren / Al­bany Times Union

Hash browns cook on an in­dus­trial- sized stove.

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