Don’t push your luck: Extra road patrols slated in Grand County for St. Patrick’s Day |

Don’t push your luck: Extra road patrols slated in Grand County for St. Patrick’s Day

Don’t press your Irish luck by trying to drink and drive this St. Patrick’s Day because Grand County’s law officers will be out in force to nab drunk drivers.

“Our deputies will be on heightened awareness to spot impaired drivers over this holiday,” said Undersheriff Walt Eldridge of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.

Glen Trainor, Chief of Police for the Fraser-Winter Park Police agreed.

“We will have increased patrols throughout this holiday weekend through 3 a.m. Tuesday,” he said. “Our officers will be specifically targeting those drivers who are intoxicated. We want everybody to have a good time this St. Patrick’s Day, but anyone go out to party should plan to either have a designated driver, get a taxi or find some other means of transportation to get home.”

Along with the Sheriff’s deputies and police in Grand County’s towns, the local office of the Colorado State Patrol plans to have its troopers on heightened alert for St. Patrick’s Day as well.

All of these law enforcement agencies are joining officially or unofficially in the statewide “Heat is On” campaign to take drunken and impaired drivers off Colorado’s highways, roads and streets this holiday. Their enforcement efforts include increased patrols, saturation patrols and checkpoints.

The “Heat Is On” special enforcement campaign kicked off at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 14, and continues through 3 a.m. this Tuesday, March 18. The goal of the campaign is to keep the public safe by getting drunk drivers off the highways and roads.

“Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a pint glass is an age-old tradition, but the holiday also brings a concentrated rise in drinking and driving,” said Pam Hutton, CDOT Governor’s Representative for Highway Safety. “Law enforcement officers will be cracking down on motorists who press their luck and risk freedom and human life by taking the party onto Colorado roadways this weekend.”

Last year, St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday night and there were five alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Colorado during the three-night special enforcement period. Law enforcement agencies made 363 DUI arrests during the 2007 holiday weekend.

In the previous two years, there was one traffic death involving alcohol each year during the evening of St. Patrick’s Day to the early morning hours of the following day.

“Luck will run out for those who drink and drive this holiday weekend,” said Col. Mark Trostel, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “The Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will be working overtime to ensure that state roadways are safe. Those enjoying a sober celebration should be aware of other drivers on the road and drive defensively. Buckle up for safety, and dial *CSP if you suspect another driver may be intoxicated.”

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