First arrests made as holiday sobriety sweeps beginDecember 17, 2006 No Comments
12-17-06, San Diego Union Tribune: Joe Hughes
San Diego police set the trap in Pacific Beach, and it didn’t take long to find their prey.
A drunken driver was behind the wheel of the first car pulled over Friday night in the initial hours of a major holiday law enforcement sweep that will continue through Jan. 5.
“As soon as we opened the checks at 9:15 p.m., the first car through had a drinking driver,” said police Officer Mark McCullough of the department’s traffic division. “From then on, we were busy nonstop.”
The sobriety checkpoint was set up on Grand Avenue near Mission Bay High School, and about 800 cars went through. The checkpoint is part of Operation Full Throttle, being conducted by police, sheriff’s deputies, prosecutors and other officials.
Twenty-six drivers who aroused suspicion were tested for possibly driving while under the influence, and 13 were arrested, including the first one. Their cars were impounded.
In a related operation, four motorists were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence at another checkpoint set up from 9 p.m. Friday to 2:30 a.m. yesterday on Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach. About 740 vehicles were checked. Thirteen were impounded, including vehicles driven by people with expired registrations, licenses or other violations.
The Pacific Beach checkpoint became so busy after midnight that police closed it down at 1:15 a.m., about an hour earlier than planned. Officers were busy processing the drivers being arrested.
“We were swamped with drinking drivers, and it takes about 30 to 40 minutes to process each one,” McCullough said.
As many as 300 police officers, sheriff’s deputies, prosecutors and others are involved in the countywide crackdown over the holidays. Similar checks and other sweeps will be conducted nightly at locations to be determined.
The program, coordinated by the San Diego Police Department, is financed by a $1.1 million grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety.
The operation also includes roving drunken-driving patrols, underage decoys trying to buy alcohol and enforcement of social-host and alcohol-sales laws, which target people who have gatherings where underage drinking occurs.Assault, Holidays