Incident at roadblock leads to arrest of former legislator
Law enforcement officers arrested a former state legislator and gubernatorial running mate Wednesday afternoon after he allegedly refused to comply with officers’ orders or abide by a roadblock associated with the Paradise Valley fire.
Joel Boniek, 51, of Paradise Valley, was arrested on misdemeanor charges of obstructing a peace officer, resisting arrest and fleeing from or eluding a peace officer. Boniek was booked into the Park County Detention Center overnight but was released on his own recognizance by a judge Thursday morning.
Boniek, a Republican, served in the state House of Representatives in 2009-10 as the representative for House District 61. He also was the running mate to Pray resident Bob Fanning, who ran in this year’s primary for the governor’s race. Their bid for the primary was unsuccessful.
According to court documents filed in Park County’s Justice Court, on Wednesday around 3:30 p.m., Boniek failed to stop at a roadblock set up near Inverness Road in the Paradise Valley that emergency responders had established to control traffic in association with a wildland fire burning in the area.
Boniek, who lives in the area of the roadblocks, continued driving, despite two patrol vehicles with activated lights following behind him, according to a probable cause statement.
Boniek stopped in front of a Park County Sheriff’s Office deputy’s vehicle, which was parked in the road as a roadblock, when the deputy drew his service pistol, aimed it at him and yelled at him to stop, the statement says.
Boniek allegedly got out of his pickup truck and refused to comply with officers’ orders to turn around and place his hands behind his back. He allegedly argued with the officers and eventually “dropped his left hand near what looked like a holster” before a deputy brought him to the ground, the probable cause statement reads.
The deputy removed a loaded handgun from the holster, according to court documents.
Boniek appeared in Justice Court Thursday morning and told Justice of the Peace Linda Budeski that he wanted to consult with a lawyer before entering a plea.
Reached by phone Thursday morning, Boniek declined to comment.
“I’m still processing, so we’ll see what happens … I was on a private road in a private vehicle,” he said.