Orange County authorities said that 219 people were arrested on suspicion of drunk driving over Memorial Day weekend.
The arrests were largely made by the authority of checkpoints and patrol police cars throughout Orange County over the last three days, according to Deputy Wayne Howard of the Sheriff’s Department.
None of the agencies reported any fatalities. The total figures are still not in, while several departments continue to tally their figures.
During this same weekend last year, there were a total of 201 DUI arrests and at least two deaths.
In one of the traffic collisions from last year, a 14-year-old was killed during a suspected DUI crash. Ashton Sweet was returning home with three of her friends after a birthday party when the Mercedes-Benz that she was traveling in was struck by a suspected drunk driver. Sweet was killed on impact and all over her friends were also injured in the crash.
The drunk driver in that incident was Austin Farley, 26, of Irvine. He was arrested and held on $100,000 bail.
The other fatal collision from last year’s Memorial Day weekend involved a 25-year-old pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle and died. Kevin Blanciak, a resident of Fountain Valley, was crossing in the northbound lanes of Brookhurst Street outside of the crosswalk when he was hit by a Toyota 4 Runner SUV.
He was taken to the UCI Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. Police suspected that he was extremely intoxicated at the time of the crash, and no arrests were made.
Luckily, there were no fatal accidents this year, although the amount of total DUI arrests did increase.
38 different agencies throughout Orange County carried out this year’s anti-DUI campaign and became known as the “Avoid the 38.” Several of these agencies are the Sheriff’s Department, local police departments and the California Highway Patrol.
The total number of drivers arrested by California Highway Patrol officers also increased over this Memorial Day weekend. 74 arrests were made, compared to the 53 arrests made last year.
The next increased enforcement period will occur over the July 4 holiday and then again from August 17 to September 3.
A trust fund from a grant made by the California Office of Traffic Safety, via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provided the extra help for the program this weekend.
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