WSAZ - Local News and Breaking News Coverage for West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky

Sobriety Checkpoints

By: Randy Yohe
By: Randy Yohe

Across eight states on Saturday night, police were in the thick of "operation nighthawk.” The target is drunk drivers.

Huntington police, state police and the Marshall Police department were out stopping drivers, and they stayed out all night long.

According to police, about one-third of all Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash sometime in their life.

In 2004, 136 people died in West Virginia as a result of an accident with a drunk driver.

And last year, more than 4,000 mountain state sobriety checkpoints led to one of West Virginia's lowest alcohol related crash rates ever.

Among the many law enforcement officers enjoying a training dinner before DUI checkpoint duty,
featured speaker Sarah Jokovich barely survived when a repeat DUI offender smashed into her car. She spent five years recovering and working to make sure that the impaired driver saw justice.

“She tried to get away with it, “ said Jokovich. “It was one in the afternoon. I wasn't going to let her go.”

But do sobriety check points work? Nearly 17,000 people a year die in alcohol and drug related accidents, and the fatalities are 100% preventable.

Huntington police officer Mike Hudson is a DUI checkpoint veteran. She says there are no tricks involved in busting impaired drivers.

The cold hard numbers show many impaired drivers are stopped before they maim or kill by DUI checkpoints.


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