Police agencies report little drunken driving on New Year's Eve

Friday, January 1, 2010

Cape Girardeau County deputies made one drunken driving arrest over the New Year's holiday Thursday and Friday and cited four minors for possessing alcohol.

Sheriff John Jordan said overall the night was quiet.

"I think people are getting designated drivers, and that's a good thing," Jordan said.

New Year's Eve was slow for the Missouri State Highway Patrol too, with officers arresting just seven individuals for drunken driving. Six of the arrests were made after midnight.

"That's not very many for 13 counties, so that was good," said Sgt. Dale Moreland, Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop E.

In addition, Moreland reported no motorist fatalities and one injury accident in Ripley County.

Departments in Cape Girardeau County increased the number of officers on duty Thursday evening for the New Year's holiday. Their intention was to watch traffic specifically for motorists driving under the influence of alcohol.

Cpl. Jason Selzer of the Cape Girardeau Police Department said the city will had one or two extra officers on duty through New Year's Day watching for intoxicated motorists. There were no checkpoints New Year's Eve.

Jordan said he also had extra officers on duty to bring drunken drivers off county roads. Although he didn't release how many extra cars were out, he said grant dollars received to keep more officers on duty were used Thursday night.

Although the Missouri State Highway Patrol didn't perform a specific operation to catch drunken drivers, Moreland said every available trooper was on duty New Year's Eve monitoring holiday traffic. In recent years, Moreland has noticed motorists making more responsible decisions, such as using a designated driver to get home.

"In the past we've not had a lot of crashes or anything over the New Year's holiday," Moreland said. "Pay attention, obey speed limits, all traffic laws and buckle up. Have someone else drive you."

ehevern@semissourian.com

388-3635

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