642 Arrested As Police Work To Nail Drunk Drivers

The effort is part of the nationwide "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A countywide law enforcement campaign targeting drunken and drugged drivers netted 642 arrests since it began more than two weeks ago, authorities said today.

And the push is on tonight -- New Year's Eve -- to catch more.

The Riverside County Avoid the 30 task force -- named for the number or participating agencies -- initiated its end-of-year anti-DUI operations on the morning of Friday, Dec. 13.

Since that time, saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints have been conducted in numerous locations, including Beaumont, Corona, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Lake Elsinore, Murrieta and Temecula.

The 642 DUI arrests made over the past 18 days compare to 703 arrested during the same period in 2012, according to Riverside police Sgt. Skip Showalter, the Avoid spokesman.

He said there had been two DUI-related fatal collisions over the last two weeks. In one case, a female motorist rear-ended a motorcyclist on the Riverside (91) Freeway, killing him. In another instance, a woman drove onto Interstate 215 going in the wrong direction and crashed into a motorist head-on, causing fatal injuries.

The suspect in the latter collision, Patricia Star, remains hospitalized with serious injuries. The woman suspected of killing the motorcyclist, Monique Johnson, is free on a $75,000 bond.

Showalter said additional checkpoints and concentrated patrols are scheduled tonight and tomorrow in Corona,  La Quinta, Moreno Valley and Riverside.

During last year's Avoid the 30 year-end crackdown, a total 758 people were arrested on suspicion of DUI. That compared to 682 during the same period in 2011, figures showed.

The effort is part of the nationwide "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The California Highway Patrol's "maximum enforcement period," during which all available officers are deployed to catch traffic violators, will coincide with Avoid operations on New Year's.

Authorities recommended that people planning to imbibe during holiday festivities designate a sober driver, hire a taxi or use a community sober ride program to get home.

Just my opinion January 04, 2014 at 12:35 PM
ChrisG - are you reading this? Avoid the 30 was a big success and it also included several DUI checkpoints as well as saturation patrols among its methodology. Lets use facts to base our opinions about what methods work to catch DUIs - not speculation that is easily disproved. Have a safe and sober year. Apparently our county law enforcement experts think they work just fine. 642 DUIs off the road is music to my ears.


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