Cinco de Mayo patrols net 187 DUI arrests

Last weekend’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations ended in 187 DUI arrests in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties where police had stepped up special Target Zero patrols Friday and Saturday nights, according to Pierce County officials.

Over 70 officers, deputies and troopers from 33 law enforcement agencies focused solely on areas where a high number of impaired fatalities and serious injuries have occurred in recent years. These included targeted streets in Tacoma, Seattle, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kent, Auburn, Renton, Lynnwood, Marysville, and Everett where officers intercepted a driver going the wrong way on Highway 99. The driver was taken to the hospital where he was assessed for alcohol poisoning and a heart syndrome caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

The holiday, which fell on a weekend for the first time in five years, included visits to bars by two mothers of victims of impaired driving crashes, police, and the Washington State Liquor Control Board. The team passed out Clickit 2 Ride cards which, when scanned with a cell phone, put callers directly in contact with local taxi companies.

As part of the Home Safe Bar Program, police visiting bars in Tacoma and University Place on Saturday night encountered a woman who had just stabbed someone and was being placed under arrest, a man who was nearly passed out at a table, and a host of inebriated revelers headed for their cars for whom police called taxis. Police and Liquor Control Board officers also visited two bars where two drivers arrested for impaired driving said they had been drinking.

The mothers of the victims accompanied police to some bars to praise noteworthy efforts to ensure public safety, including a new bar owner in Tacoma who paid his servers $20 every time they identified, cut off, and called a taxi for a patron who appeared to be inebriated.

One of the mothers visiting the bars, Gloria Cipriano, said “Cinco de Mayo is about celebrating Mexican heritage, not alcohol.” Her 19-year-old son, Martin, was killed in an impaired driving crash in Everett by a woman who had been drinking at a bar in February of 2010.

The special holiday enforcement was supported by traffic safety task forces and local, county and state law enforcement agencies in all three counties as well as the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and leaders from the King County Latino community.

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DUI patrols net 35 drivers during St. Patrick’s Day (03/27/12) —

Tacoma, Pierce County DUI patrol watching for St. Patrick’s Day revelers (03/08/12) —

Area police ramp up DUI patrols on Super Bowl Sunday (02/03/12) —

Police will ‘bar hop’ in Pierce County Saturday to stop drunk drivers (01/24/12) —

Extra Pierce County DUI patrols planned during holidays (11/17/11) —

Police ‘bar blitz’ targets Tacoma’s drunk drivers (06/01/11) —

Pierce County teen party patrols arrest 50; more patrols planned (05/10/11) —

DUI campaign nets 606 Pierce County arrests (01/19/11) —

Black Friday proves costly for drunk drivers in Pierce County (11/30/10) —