With the holiday season nearly here and several notable recent DUI arrests made in the Sierra Vista area, the Sierra Vista Police Department and Southeastern Arizona DUI Task Force remind drivers that impaired driving collisions, fatalities, and arrests are all 100 percent preventable.
The Sierra Vista Police Department will be spreading awareness regarding the dangers of impaired driving by participating in the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Public Safety Days at the Arizona State Fair this weekend. The department also urges local drivers to consider the repercussions of driving while impaired and to always plan for a safe ride home.
“There is an increase of impaired driving during the holiday season and we urge drivers to make the responsible choice this year by always finding a ride home with a sober driver,” says SVPD Sgt. Tim Wachtel, coordinator of the Southeastern Arizona DUI Task Force. “We don’t want to see a season of celebration turn tragic due to a driver choosing to put themselves and others in danger.”
New data released this month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that in 2018 10,511 people died in drunk driving crashes. That’s down 3.6 percent compared to 2017 but still means every day an average of 29 people are killed in drunk driving collisions. That’s one person every 50 minutes. Despite increased enforcement and awareness, drunk driving still kills more people on our nation’s roads than any other cause.
And it’s still a significant issue locally as well, which is highlighted by several recent incidents. In October alone, SVPD has investigated three significant impaired driving incidents.
The most recent incident occurred on Oct. 21 at about 8:14 a.m. An officer made a traffic stop for a civil traffic violation, which led to an impaired driving investigation and ultimately to the arrest of a 44-year-old Sierra Vista resident for a super extreme DUI after a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.271 was recorded. That’s more than three times the legal limit of 0.08.
On Oct. 19, at about 7:45 p.m., SVPD officers working a DUI task force detail in Tombstone responded to the area of South Highway 80 near mile marker 331 for a report of a collision. The investigation revealed an impaired driver was traveling in the opposite lane of traffic and collided with several vehicles. A 31-year-old Oregon resident was arrested for aggravated DUI after a BAC of 0.255 was recorded. This is also more than three times the legal limit of 0.08.
On Oct. 3, at about 11:34 a.m., SVPD officers responded to the area of the Highway 90 Bypass and Buffalo Soldier Trail for a report of a collision. The investigation led to the arrest of a 27-year-old Huachuca City resident for aggravated DUI, aggravated assault, child abuse, and endangerment. These charges were the result of a 3-year-old child being in the vehicle at the time of the collision. The child was flown to Tucson for medical treatment. Preliminary results show the driver had a BAC well above 0.20.
With the holidays quickly approaching, the Sierra Vista Police Department reminds drivers to celebrate responsibly and find a safe way home. Get a designated driver, not a DUI!