DUI checkpoints this weekend

With Saint Patrick's Day landing on a Saturday and local basketball teams playing in the NCAA this weekend -- there will be an increased number of people celebrating and knocking back a brew or two. But party people beware -- police will be out in full force.

Starting Friday night, local law enforcement agencies will be setting up DUI checkpoints and patrols to help keep drunk drivers off the roads over St. Patrick's Day weekend.

"Happy St. Paddy's Day. I'll probably be drinking a green beer, just one, no driving," said Kimberly Parnell.

Parnell  plans on celebrating the holiday at a local pub with friends.

"I know it's going to be a big holiday for drinking and staying safe is the most important thing," she added.

Safety is what police will be enforcing in big numbers.

"We have roving patrols officers who do nothing but look for indication of impaired driving," said Sgt. Jim Profita with Chesterfield County Police Department.

In Chesterfield, more than a dozen extra officers will be on the streets.

And with local teams playing in the NCAA tournaments this weekend -- VCU will have a sobriety checkpoint set up in the 700 block of West Main Street. Officers will check drivers licenses, vehicle registrations, seatbelt compliance and if you're caught driving drunk you'll be arrested.

The vehicles will be screened not only by VCU Police but Richmond and State Police.

VCU student, Anthony Greene says he'll be rooting on the Rams with friends, family and drinks.

"I'll have a designated driver, so we can all get to where we need to go safe and sound," said Greene.

Police say, driving drunk doesn't pay. A message Ronnie McEwen learned the hard way. His DUI bust was life changing.

"I was stopped for DUI by a state trooper and ever since then I just quite drinking," said McEwen.

According to the Auto Club, the last time St. Patrick's Day fell on a Saturday there were 49 alcohol related crashes in the commonwealth -- that's nearly double compared to when the holiday has fallen on a weekday.

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