DUI task force arrests 50 in Tacoma

The latest DUI emphasis patrol in Tacoma netted the largest total number of motorists taken into custody since the emphasis patrols began over 15 years ago, according to Pierce County officials.

The June 26 emphasis patrol, sponsored by the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force, arrested 16 drivers for DUI and 11 for felony and misdemeanor drug offenses or outstanding warrants. Another 23 drivers were arrested for driving while their licenses were either suspended or revoked. One 32-year-old female driver arrested for DUI had been arrested for DUI three times previously. A stolen car was recovered and one motorcyclist had his bike impounded because he did not have a valid motorcycle endorsement on his license. In addition, 29 drivers also were cited for having no insurance.

Most of the drivers apprehended Saturday night were arrested in the vicinity of Portland and McKinley avenues, South Tacoma Way and Sixth Avenue, north of Sprague. Drivers who attempted to drive after drinking too much at the Taste of Tacoma were arrested for DUI when they left the traffic-snarled city streets surrounding the event and began driving dangerously on Highway 16 and I-5. Participating in the June 26 patrol, hosted by the Tacoma Police Department, were the Bonney Lake, Sumner, Fife, Milton, Puyallup, Gig Harbor, Tacoma and Lakewood Police Departments along with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington State Patrol. The X-52 patrol was funded by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Yesterday, along with task forces in Snohomish and King counties, the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force launched a special team who will intensely hunt impaired drivers over the next two years. The new Target Zero Team, made up of six additional troopers and three additional deputies and officers, will work ten-hour shifts, four days a week solely focused on apprehending drug and alcohol impaired drivers on Pierce County’s roads. “There will be nowhere impaired drivers can hide in Pierce County,” said John Cheesman, chief of the Fircrest Police Department and chair of the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force.