Conn. man beats ticket by telling court he was eating hash brown

A Connecticut man who argued that he was eating a McDonald's hash brown when police pulled him over for driving and texting has been found not guilty — and boy, is he lovin' it. 

Jason Stiber spent almost a year arguing his case after he said Westport police wrongly gave him a distracted driving ticket for holding what they thought was a cell phone, according to The Hour

The incident occurred last April, when Stiber stopped by McDonald's in the early morning to pick up a hash brown and a caramel frappe. He was later pulled over by Westport Police Cpl. Shawn Wong Won and given a $300 ticket.

During his first court appearance, Stiber argued that he had Bluetooth and had no reason to pick up his phone to take a call. He also showed phone records that confirmed that he did not make any calls around the time he was issued a ticket. 

Despite the evidence, a magistrate judge found Stiber guilty in August. Stiber then requested a retrial, which took place earlier this February, and hired John Thygerson to represent him, according to the Westport News

During the retrial, Cpl. Won told state attorney Laurence Tomaccio that he saw Stiber using a black cellphone. 

"It was clearly visible," the officer said. "He was looking straight ahead, completely oblivious to the fact that I was there."

But Thygerson contended that Won was at the end of a double shift and could have possibly mistaken the hash brown for a phone. Stiber's attorney also argued that Won had refused to describe Stiber's driving as "unsafe." 

A state Superior Court judge ultimately ruled in Stiber's favor. 

"I just think this is a classic example of the truism that cops make mistakes," Thygerson said, following the decision. "They're human beings like everyone else and sometimes they get things wrong." 

The ruling naturally excited Stiber, who announced the verdict in an email to Westport News last Friday. 

"Not guilty! Justice prevails," he wrote. 

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