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Green Beer Plus Driving Equaled DUI for Some

The luck of the Irish was not with 35 drivers in Puyallup on St. Patrick’s Day when they were arrested for impaired driving.

A total of 288 motorists were stopped by 26 officers, deputies and troopers for unsafe driving during the special Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety multi-agency patrol on St. Patrick's evening. About half of the drivers stopped were issued warnings; the other half, in addition to being arrested for DUI, were cited for speeding, negligent driving, violating intermediate driving license restrictions, not wearing their seatbelt, driving without insurance or while their license was suspended.

Early in the evening, police discovered two groups of teenagers who were preparing to celebrate the holiday with alcohol.  According to Puyallup Police Capt. Scott Engle, the parties were broken up but arrests were not made because the youths had not yet begun to drink.

As part of the Home Safe Bar program, chiefs from the Puyallup, Fircrest and Departments, along with officers from the Washington State Liquor Control Board, visited bars where the largest number of persons arrested for DUI said they had been drinking this past year. One bar owner was arrested on a $5,000 outstanding DUI warrant; another was arrested the night before in Puyallup for DUI.

Click It 2 Ride wallet cards, featuring bar codes that could be scanned by a smart phone to call a local cab company, were distributed to bartenders, servers and patrons.

“By using the cards, drinkers could choose to ride in a taxi instead of a police car on a day notorious for beer and impaired driving,” said Fircrest Police Chief John Cheesman, chairman of the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force. “Drivers make their own luck when it comes to avoiding a DUI.”

Participating in the patrol and bar program were the Tacoma, Lakewood, Fife,  Fircrest, Gig Harbor and Puyallup police departments along with the Washington Liquor Control Board, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington State Patrol. Funding for the patrol was provided by the participating law enforcement agencies and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. The task force is administered by Pierce County Community Connections.

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Editor's Note: This is a press release from Pierce County.

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