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Fri, Feb. 21

Holiday yields numerous DUI charges

PRESCOTT – Authorities from five local law enforcement agencies arrested 14 people on DUI charges during New Year's Eve traffic stops.

According to Prescott Police Sgt. Rick Gill, the average blood alcohol level was 0.17. In addition, police arrested five minors on alcohol consumption charges and four people for possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia. They also issued 16 seatbelt violations, one weapons violation and 129 miscellaneous citations, he said.

Gill said that a New Year's Eve accident, on Highway 89 near Ruger Road, also was alcohol-related.

In addition to random sobriety checks, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Special Crimes Unit (SCU), along with the Northern Arizona DUI Task Force, set up a sobriety checkpoint on Dec. 28 at Williamson Valley and Dineh roads.

Authorities picked that location because of an increasing number of impaired driver arrests and alcohol-related accidents that reportedly occurred there in the past few years. Officers stopped 381 drivers during the holiday operation and arrested eight people on DUI charges and 10 on charges of drug possession and/or paraphernalia. The average blood alcohol level was 0.11.

According to The Associated Press, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety reported Thursday that state police agencies participating in a holiday crackdown made 4,217 drunken driving arrests. Of those arrested, 1,181 were made on extreme drunken driving charges.

Those numbers exceed this past year's totals, when police made 3,236 drunken driving arrests, including 945 on extreme drunken driving charges.

The average blood-alcohol level for those arrested during this holiday season was 0.146. The legal limit for driving in Arizona is 0.08 percent.

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