Waynesville police, state patrol announce drunk driving crackdown

Darrell Todd Maurina

PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Aug. 5, 2009) — Two more law enforcement agencies announced Wednesday that they will be cracking down on drunk drivers in Pulaski County, in addition to the previously announced activities of the Saint Robert Police Department.

Lt. Gary Brankel and Assistant Chief Clarence Liberty of the Waynesville Police Department announced that their officers will be targeting impaired drivers from Aug. 21 to Sept. 7 as part of the “You Drink and Drive, You Lose” statewide campaign, which increases efforts to reduce deaths and serious injuries caused by impaired drivers.

“Driving while intoxicated is one of the most common violent crimes, randomly killing or injuring someone in Missouri every 1.7 hours,” said Police Chief Robert Carter in a prepared statement. “These tragedies are preventable when drivers make a simple, smart choice not to drink and drive.”

Capt. Lee Ann H. Kenley, the commanding officer of Troop I of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, also announced Wednesday that during August, her troopers in Pulaski and Phelps counties will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint in Phelps County and a Pulaski County saturation patrol looking for those who are driving while intoxicated and those who have hazardous moving vehicle violations.

“The checkpoint is designed to check every driver to ensure they are sober; the driving while intoxicated saturation is a mobile operation in which troopers saturate a specific area in an effort to arrest alcohol or drug-impaired drivers,” Kenley said in a prepared statement. “The hazardous moving vehicle operation targets those individuals who are operating their vehicle in a hazardous manner, and thus, more likely to be involved in an accident.”

Those who see a violation of law or an emergency situation on the roadways may call the state patrol’s emergency hotline at (800) 525-5555 or dial *55 on their cell phones.

The previously reported St. Robert enforcement activities include sobriety checkpoints using police officer and firefighter overtime, as well as other activities that haven’t been specified in detail.

Consequences of drunk driving, according to a Waynesville Police Department release, include:

• Those who cause a fatal crash while intoxicated can be charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony carrying a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

• Even a first-offense conviction carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $500 fine, along with a 90-day driver’s license suspension.

• A second-offense conviction carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, as well as a yearlong driver’s license suspension.

• Those who drink and drive while under age 21 can be charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol, resulting in a first-offense suspension of their driver’s license for 90 days in additon to any other suspension resulting from “point” assessment on an alcohol conviction.

• Those convicted of driving while intoxicated will have difficulty finding an insurance company willing to insure them, and their rates will be significantly higher.

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