By Christie Post - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – While people were celebrating the new year, local authorities were out in full force keeping our roads safe from those who decided to get behind the wheel after drinking.
According to DPS reports, DWI arrests on New Years Eve have more than doubled what was reported in 2008.
Last year's New Years Eve DPS troopers arrested 502 drivers for DWI, issued 12,697 speeding tickets, and 1,012 safety restraint violations state wide. Here locally after spending one night out with the DWI force, the officer KCBD NewsChannel 11's Christie Post rode with issued one of all of those tickets.
"There are several units out specifically looking for DWI's," said Corporal Tim Seeley, Lubbock Police Department.
For some New Years Eve is about counting down the New Year, celebrating with friends and when the clock hits midnight toasting to new beginnings. But for Corporal Tim Seeley, it's arresting those who were unable to drive, but decided to anyways.
"Public safety is the main reason we're putting extra units out," said Crpl. Seeley.
During New Years Eve, LPD also works closely with the District Attorney's office on what's called a no refusal weekend.
Corporal Seeley started his shift at 10:00 p.m., after checking the Depot District for those who decided to drink and drive, and an hour into the shift a car was pulled over.
"This vehicle turned southbound of Buddy Holly Avenue and the driver was not wearing a seatbelt," said Corporal Seeley, "We're finding that the driver does not have a driver's license and there's also no insurance on the vehicle."
While patroling the hub, Corpal Seeley believes, "Certain behaviors we're looking for is the movement with that motor vehicle that would indicate potentially that person is intoxicated,". "We're looking for the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, the blood shot eyes and the normal signs of intoxication in a person."
While patrolling different streets in Lubbock, Corpal Seeley noticed that one vehicle was speeding. "This vehicle was doing 50 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone," said Seeley.
Just minutes after people rang in the New Year, a serious accident happened on 98th and Slide. Shortly after, two more accidents near Covenant, Police said they were driving while intoxicated.
"Looks like he was Southbound on Quaker avenue looking like he was trying to turn east bound on the access road of Marsha Sharp went out of control and went into the embankment," said Seeley.
Since the 22-year-old male was injured in the accident police could not give him a sobriety test. We followed him to the hospital where he consented to giving a blood sample. But what happens when a driver refuses a sobriety test?
"If they refuse we will go through the process of securing a warrant," said Sergeant John Hayes, Lubbock Police Department.
The DA's office has a judge on call to sign warrants and issue court orders if a person is suspected of driving over the legal limit. "We did do at least one of those," said Crpl. Seeley.
Police said instead of becoming a statistic the simple what to avoid being arrested for DWI is designating a driver.
"I think probably half of our fatalities this year have involved alcohol. And it's one of those things, it doesn't have to be a fatal to be a bad accident. Some of these injuries that are sustained are life altering events," said Sgt. Hayes.
By 3:00 a.m. both LPD and DPS combined arrested more than a dozen drivers with a DWI which is a Class B Misdemeanor with penalties facing up to 6 months in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.
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