In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, law enforcement agencies throughout Washington State wanted to make it clear that holiday DUI patrols would be a priority in the effort to prevent drunk driving and keep the state’s roadways safe for drivers. Despite the fair warning, hundreds of people in Western Washington were still arrested over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend – from Wednesday to Sunday.
According to Trooper Julie Judson of the Washington State Patrol (WSP), troopers arrested 52 drunken drivers in King County during the holiday weekend. In Pierce and Thurston counties, Judson says troopers caught 81 drivers on suspicion of driving under the influence – a higher number of offenders than WSP officials had expected in that area.
Judson also says that the DUI emphasis patrol efforts really paid off this year; according to records, this holiday weekend was completely free of any major DUI-related accidents.
“We did pretty good this weekend,” she said. “We’re definitely focused on keeping fatality collisions and serious-injury collisions to zero if possible.”
To better explain the statistics, the WSP’s count of DUI-related accidents only includes incidents that occur on state routes. There likely were additional drunken driving crashes throughout the state on other roadways that were not accounted for by the WSP.
In fact, there was even a DUI collision in a Walmart parking lot in Covington on Thanksgiving evening. Police say a 71-year-old man was at the store in anticipation of Black Friday shopping deals when he struck a couple in their 40s who were also at the store for Black Friday. The man rolled up onto the hood of the car and fell to the ground, while the woman was pinned underneath the vehicle.
The woman was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle to be treated for her injuries in the DUI crash. The man driving the car was arrested for vehicular assault, and there was no additional information regarding the status of the other injury victim.
The WSP and other law enforcement agencies will have their hands full in the upcoming weeks, as the holiday season is only going to get more hectic. Christmas and New Year’s Eve patrols are just as busy for police as it is another popular time for people to gather and drink alcohol during parties and family gatherings.