Two officers have been honored for their work in the battle against drunk drivers, one of whom has accounted for half the DUI arrests made in the city this year.
Honored by the Governor’s Safety Office and Mother’s Against Drunk Driving were McMinnville police master Sgt. Kenneth Seagraves and Warren County sheriff’s deputy Ben Cannon.
“Usually when you ask them, they say they’ve had a couple of beers a few hours ago,” deputy Cannon said of the most common excuse drunk driving suspects give him when he makes a traffic stop. He has been a road deputy for about two years.
The legal limit for intoxication in Tennessee is .08 when it comes to alcohol, although drivers can be under the influence of any intoxicating substance including prescription medication. State law requires mandatory jail time on the first conviction with that time increasing each violation.
Cannon said it is often simple things that give a drunk driver away.
“It’s silly things like having a taillight out,” Cannon said.
His tag team partner in the awards knows every tale in the book as Seagraves has made 44 of the city’s 86 drunk driving arrests this year.
“My goal is 50 this year,” Seagraves revealed as a warning to drunk drivers. “And I will be working New Year’s Eve.”
Seagraves, who has been with the city for over eight years, has been to numerous schools such as advanced roadside impaired detection school, as well as continuing his education by in-house training. He is certified through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and in standard field sobriety.
Seagraves said he and Cannon readily volunteer for saturated patrols sponsored here by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office given the amount of funding it provides to help combat drunk driving on a local and state level.