By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
More officers will be out looking for drunken drivers in the holiday-filled weeks ahead.
Extra DUI patrols in Snohomish County are planned through Jan. 2.
Last year during the period from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, city, county and state law enforcement officers in Snohomish County arrested 409 people for DUI while on routine and emphasis patrols.
Extra attention began on the Thanksgiving holiday Thursday. The long weekend has been a deadly time in recent years. Fatal crashes caused by impaired drivers have occurred on the Sunday at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend the past two years.
In 2009, four long-time friends from Clearview were killed when a drunken driver crashed into their vehicle along Highway 9 near Marysville as they returned home from planning a birthday party. A Snohomish man, Matthew McDonald, pleaded guilty to four counts of vehicular homicide, admitting he had been drinking and caused the fatal crash. He’s now in prison.
On the Sunday following Thanksgiving last year, a Bothell man, 25, died in a one-car accident off Cathcart Way near Highway 9. Investigators believe he was driving impaired, Washington State Patrol Trooper Keith Leary said.
The State Patrol wants people to enjoy the holiday season. If that includes drinking, they need to find a designated driver, Leary said.
“Have a good time but be responsible for yourself,” Leary said. “People need to go out and do their celebrating safely.”
Between 2006 and 2010, nearly 1,200 people died on Washington roadways in DUI crashes.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org