Police: Dozens charged with DUI as holiday season kicks off

"You booze, you cruise, you lose"

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Law enforcement agencies across Central Virginia are cracking down on drunk drivers as the holiday season gets underway.

Virginia State Police also announced that between Wednesday, Nov. 21 and Sunday, Nov. 25, 11 traffic crashes occurred, claiming the lives of nine drivers, two passengers and a motorcyclist.

Chesterfield County Police also arrested and charged 16 people for DWI and DUI between Thanksgiving and Sunday night.

Sergeant James Lamb with the Traffic Safety Section said that number doesn’t surprise him.

“I wouldn't say it was any different from any normal weekend throughout the year,” he said. “We take DUI enforcement very seriously throughout the year."

Many of the other law enforcement agencies also reported a handful of arrests, and all agree that if you booze, you cruise, and you lose.

"People need to think before they get behind the wheel, before they go out and party,” Lamb said. “It's not just them they're going to affect once they get a DUI."

Thankfully the Chesterfield Police officer injured in a crash on Bradley Bridge and Lewis Road Sunday morning by an alleged drunk driver wasn’t seriously hurt.

"That just goes to show the dangers of driving under the influence,” Lamb said. “All of our police cars have reflective signs on them, so that should draw somebody's attention even more so."

While the holidays are a time for families to reunite, officers they aren’t patrolling any different than they would during the other times of the year.

"We take DUI very seriously year-round," Lamb said.

So do all the other law enforcement agencies across RVA.

Richmond Police nabbed seven people for DUIs over the last four days, Henrico had 18, and Hanover County only had one.

The 2018 Thanksgiving holiday C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 596 individuals who failed to obey the law and buckle up, as well as issuing 198 citations for child safety seat violations on Virginia’s highways statewide. In addition, state police cited 7,419 speeders and 2,157 reckless drivers. A total of 102 drunken drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers.

"I don't think anyone is happy when they're arrested, and I can't speak to what they think of themselves or how they think of it,” Lamb said. “Some people will never do it again and some people will be repeat offenders."

A first-time offense can result in a $300 maximum fine, your license revoked for a year, and landing yourself a criminal record among other consequences.

The stakes are raised after that first offense with a higher fine, your license indefinitely revoked and possible jail time.

"A DUI arrest is bad enough, but it's when you hurt another person, family traveling down the road, or police officer on the side of the road,” Lamb said. “You can't take back those decisions once you make them. It's really important to think it out before you do it."

Chesterfield will continue to have a heavy presence of DUI checkpoints throughout the holiday season, especially on weekends.

Henrico police will also have a heavy patrol presence out on the roadways as well.

The public is encourage to call in reports of possible drunk driving if they see anything suspicious on the roadways.

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