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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Sobriety checkpoints to patrol for weekend DUIs

    With the combination of Bid Night, the football season opener and the long weekend, Tucson Police Department and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department are teaming up this Labor Day weekend to find and deter drunk drivers by setting up DUI checkpoints, according to TPD officials.

    “”With the football games and rush weeks occurring this weekend, we will be deploying a higher number of officers around campus and downtown,”” said TPD Lt. Mike Pryor.

    A number of checkpoints for driving under the influence will be set up throughout Pima County, and the TPD “”saturation patrol”” will be patrolling Tucson and pulling drivers over based on cause (such as swerving or speeding), Pryor said.

    Sgt. David Theel, a supervisor of the Pima County Sheriff’s DUI patrol, said officers could not disclose the number or location of the DUI checkpoints planned throughout Tucson.

    The Tucson Police Department has record of nearly 2,000 DUIs issued between January and July of this year, Pryor said.

    This number has nearly doubled from last year’s figure of about 1,000 DUIs by September.

    Ellen Guill, a journalism junior who is planning on going to a pool party this weekend, said she is not planning on driving because she does not want to risk getting a DUI.

    “”I want to keep my license, and driving drunk is stupid,”” Guill said.

    From January to July of this year, there have been more than 402 nonfatal accidents in Tucson in which alcohol was involved, according to TPD officials.

    “”With all of the events this weekend, there are potentials for tragedies all across the board,”” Pryor said.

    Colter Donahue, a junior majoring in creative writing and English, said although his plans this weekend may involve drinking, he will also stay safe by choosing not to drink and drive.

    “”When I am drinking, I make a friend who has not been drinking drive, and I just navigate,”” Donahue said.

    However, Maloree Brown, a studio art senior, said DUI checkpoints could be invasive.

    “”Although DUI checkpoints are a successful way to deter drunk driving, they can often be very invasive and make me feel like we are living in a heightened police state,”” she said.

    Neither TPD nor the Sheriff’s Office has an estimated number of DUIs they expect to issue this weekend.

    “”We will catch as many (drunk drivers) as we can,”” Theel said.

    Last year, 852 DUI arrests were made during Labor Day weekend in Arizona, 309 of which were considered extreme, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Web site, http://www.azgohs.state.az.us.

    Arizona Labor Day weekend DUI statistics
    Number of stops DUI arrests Extreme/aggravated DUI arrests
    2005 9,918 852 309
    2004 9,554 1,433 502

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