Thursday, August 28, 2014

Agencies plan DUI crackdown

By The Herald Staff | 8/21/2013

WICHITA — Troopers, deputies and police officers across the state are planning DUI saturation patrols and check lanes through the Labor Day weekend as part of a national crackdown on drinking and driving, officials said this week.

August typically has the most DUI arrests, Lt. Brian White, Wichita Police Department’s Patrol West Bureau commander said.

WICHITA — Troopers, deputies and police officers across the state are planning DUI saturation patrols and check lanes through the Labor Day weekend as part of a national crackdown on drinking and driving, officials said this week.

August typically has the most DUI arrests, Lt. Brian White, Wichita Police Department’s Patrol West Bureau commander said.

“A DUI arrest can result in the loss of your driver’s license and jail time,” White said. “It also means a hit on your pocketbook in lawyer’s fees, fines and court costs, higher insurance rates, lost time at work and maybe even a lost job.”

And the price can be even higher, one Wichita mother said.

“My daughter is dead because of a series of bad choices,” Kelly Rice, whose 18-year-old daughter, Amanda, was killed in a drunken driving wreck. “Everything we do is a choice. This is an easy one: Don’t make the choice to drink and drive. It is a decision that affects so many people, not just yourself.”

Amanda Rice’s 19-year-old boyfriend was traveling at about 100 mph when he lost control of his pickup and struck a power pole. Rice died nine days later. The boyfriend suffered minor injuries and later served four years in prison. Rice said she raised her children to avoid drinking, but “I never thought about teaching her not to ride with someone who had been drinking,” she said.

“Whoever said ‘It gets easier with time’ lied,” Rice said. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. There’s not a day when I don’t shed a tear.”

The overtime DUI enforcement efforts through Labor Day are supported by a federally funded grant through the Kansas Department of Transportation, Chris Bortz, KDOT’s Traffic Safety Section manager, said.

The national alcohol crackdown on drunk driving might conclude after the holiday, but officers are on the lookout year-round, White said.

“At the least, there is the social stigma and personal embarrassment when family, friends and co-workers find out you are a drunk driver,” White said. “At the most, drunk drivers change lives forever.”

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