Law enforcement agencies across Michiana are cracking down on drunk driving this weekend. Saturday evening officers staged two sobriety checkpoints in our area, one in South Bend and the other in Elkhart.
A coalition of police forces across St. Joseph County stopped cars passing through the area of Twyckenham Dr. and Edison Rd. near the Linebacker Lounge. The sting will run from 10:30 p.m. until 2:30 a.m.
Meantime the Elkhart County Traffic Safety Partnership will run its sting from 10 p.m. until 3 a.m. on the south side of Elkhart
The weekend initiative is part of a statewide effort by more than 250 agencies to stop dangerous behavior on Indiana roadways.
The increased enforcement effort kicked off Friday night. Nearly 70 vehicles went through the checkpoint in South Bend. While some citations were issued, no DUI arrests were made.
Meantime, the roadblock set up in Elkhart yielded at least four arrests Friday night. More than 60 cars were stopped in the area of Ash Rd. and Old US 20.
On Saturday night, 135 vehicles went through the checkpoint. Eleven drivers were given a field sobriety test. Seven drivers were arrested for Driving Under the Influence. Two other drivers were arrested for driving on a Suspended Driver's License.
According to Capt. Jim Bradberry with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, one woman was arrested after intentionally driving around the zone. A passenger in the car was arrested for Possession of Marijuana and Possession of a Controlled Substance. In another instance, a driver was arrested for Driving While Suspended and Never Receiving a Driver’s License. A third driver was arrested for Operating While Intoxicated – Drug Impaired. A saturation patrol in the area led to the arrest of a fourth driver for Operating While Intoxicated.
Last year, there were 6,264 alcohol-related collisions in Indiana with 97 fatalities. During the month of March, there were 524 alcohol-related collisions. Of those collisions, six fatalities were reported. Just last year on St. Patrick’s Day, there were 33 alcohol-related collisions that occurred in the state of Indiana.
“These unfortunate statistics demand a sober solution. Whether you are meeting with friends at the local bar after work, attending/watching a sporting event or participating in any number of St. Patrick’s Day festivities, if you plan on drinking alcohol - don’t drive. Designate a sober driver instead,” Capt. Bradberry said.
Capt. Bradberry recommends the following easy steps to have a safe and happy March and St. Patrick’s Day:
*Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
*Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
*If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.
*If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police.
*And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive a car or ride a motorcycle while impaired, take the keys and help that person make other arrangements to get to where he or she is going safely.