New Year’s sees rash of DUI arrests

Troopers busted 253 people in state, 13 in Clark County

By Paul Suarez, Columbian web producer

Published:

 

Washington State Patrol troopers arrested 253 people suspected of being impaired by drugs or alcohol around the state over the New Year’s weekend, an agency bulletin said.

Of the 253 arrested, 32 were involved in DUI collisions. Those numbers are down from 286 arrested during the same weekend in 2010.

“It is always the hope that the New Year starts with people driving safe and sober,” State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste said in the release. “But, I am proud that our troopers are out ensuring impaired drivers are taken off the roads.”

The weekend started at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31 and ended at midnight on Jan. 2.

Troopers pulled over 13 people on suspicion of being impaired by drugs or alcohol in Clark County during that period, said Trooper Ryan Tanner, a local state patrol spokesman. Only one of the arrests was the result of a collision and that crash was minor, he said.

In other counties, tragedies struck twice on Jan. 1.

Triple-fatality collisions were reported in Lincoln and Grays Harbor counties, said WSP spokesman Dan Coon. At least one of those involved an impaired driver, he said.

Attorneys who represent impaired drivers have warned for years that a first DUI conviction can cost $8,000 or more in fines, costs and attorney fees.