It was a happy New Year for McMinnville Police Department, but not so much for the individuals caught driving under the influence the night of Dec. 31.
“We didn’t give a lot of tickets because that’s not our goal. Our goal is to get impaired drivers off the road,” said Police Lt. Mark Mara.
The department made one DUI arrest and assisted in a second DUI arrest made by the Warren County Sheriff’s Department.
“I don’t know how many DUI arrests the Sheriff’s Department had, but they called us to help with one arrest,” Mara said. “They had to call in the DUI prosecutor because the person would not provide a blood sample. We also had to call in our drug recognition expert. It’s great to see agencies working hand-in-hand for the same common goal of making the streets safer.”
Members of the public offered a helping hand as well, says Mara.
“We had a lot of people call in about reckless drivers, which is great because that’s how we made one of the arrests,” he said. “Someone called in a possible drunk driver. The person was really messed up and it wasn’t just alcohol.”
DUI is the crime of driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs, including those prescribed by physicians.
“Thank goodness the public called in because that person was impaired,” said Mara. “He went into Walmart to go shopping and someone called it in. If they didn’t call, he could have gotten back into his vehicle and driven off. There is no telling what could have happened.”
With only one DUI arrest for the department on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, the saturation patrol was considered a success.
“Because we only made one DUI arrest, that was good,” said Mara. “I’m happy. We noticed there were a lot of gatherings at houses, but not a lot of people at bars and taverns and things like that. Apparently, the people hosting the parties at their houses were really responsible. They made sure people who were driving after the party didn’t drink anything during it so that helped a lot.”
The next saturation patrol specifically looking for impaired drivers will be Feb. 1 – Super Bowl Sunday.