Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Wed, Oct. 23

Task force reports safe holiday weekend

PRESCOTT ­ Although the Thanksgiving weekend ended with no major incidents or accidents in the tri-city area, local law enforcement stayed busy maintaining a steady traffic flow and ensuring that drunk drivers were off the roads.

Saturday's Tri-City DUI Task Force saturation patrols concluded with seven misdemeanor DUI arrests and three of them involved illicit drugs, Prescott Police Sergeant Tim Fletcher said.

Fletcher said although the numbers indicate volunteer compliance and fewer drunk drivers on the streets, the illicit drug impairment is dangerous.

"Not only is it wrong to drink and drive, but it is also wrong using any form of drugs that could impair your ability to drive," Fletcher said.

The information regarding the average blood alcohol content for all six arrests was unavailable. For two of them, however, it was 0.165, Fletcher said.

During the detail, 15 officers from five local agencies stopped 129 motorists and issued 14 seatbelt tickets, two child restraint citations, a minor consumption violation and 156 other miscellaneous traffic tickets.

The statewide effort, which includes local figures, totaled 488 traffic stops and 39 DUI arrests. Of those two were aggravated DUI offenses or DUI felonies.

Fletcher said a DUI offense becomes a felony if it is a third DUI offense within a five-year period, when the driver has a suspended license and/or has a child younger than 16 as an occupant in the car.

In addition, Department of Public Safety officers issued 239 speeding tickets over the holiday weekend, of which three involved criminal speed and the arrest of drivers, District Cmdr. Frank Lopez said. Officers and a reserve crew of volunteers also helped 120 stranded motorists and investigated nine minor collisions.

Lopez said that officers arrested the driver and his passenger in a van that was taking 15 illegal aliens ­ all male between the age of 16 and 25 ­ to the East Coast.

He said their charges stem from driving the vehicle that someone reported stolen from Tennessee and not from having the illegal aliens on board.

Lopez said his officers arranged to get the undocumented workers to the closest gas station on Interstate 17, which was at Cordes Junction. They let them go after border patrol failed to come and pick them up, he said.

"It is an everyday occurrence," Lopez said.

"Unless it involves a bus full of illegal aliens, the border patrol is unlikely to act," he said.

Meanwhile, the Prescott Police Department received at least six criminal damage reports involving broken vehicle windows. Sergeant Ken Morley said no burglaries occurred, but each vehicle had between $200 and $500 damage.

The other two police departments and the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office reported no major incidents in their jurisdictions.

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