Steamboat Springs Routt County law enforcement agencies will be out in full force cracking down on drunken drivers during a holiday weekend that proved to be fatal last year.
The Colorado State Patrol, Routt County Sheriff's Office and Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Oak Creek police departments plan to have extra officers on the road because of St. Patrick's Day.
"We will be hitting it hard," Steamboat Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing said. "My recommendation is for people to have a good time. Be responsible. Don't drink and drive. If you do, you might end up in jail."
These agencies will be participating in a statewide campaign, The Heat Is On, which is geared to nab drunken-drivers. Extra officers will be on patrol between 6 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Monday.
Last year, authorities statewide made 423 arrests. Six of those arrests were made in Routt County.
Last year, the county also had to investigate an alcohol-related accident where a Craig woman was killed west of Hayden.
On the evening of March 16, 2001, 46-year-old Sherry Larine Silver died. The woman was killed after her red truck went off the side of the road and crashed into a tree at about 10:30 p.m. six miles west of Hayden on U.S. 40.
Silver was traveling westbound in her 1986 Ford F-150 truck when she drove off the right side of the road, hit a gate post, then a street lamp and then a large tree at about milepost 101. Prior to the accident, Silver was seen at a Hayden tavern.
Local law enforcement agencies are being proactive this year to curb drunken driving.
Sheriff' deputies and Hayden and Oak Creek officers have distributed a flier about the upcoming enforcement period to bars throughout the county.
"If St. Patrick's Day means green beer and parties to you, designate a sober driver to get everyone home safely," Sheriff John Warner said. "For those drivers who don't heed the warnings, our officers will be on the road making DUI arrests."
The local law enforcement agencies want everyone to enjoy the holiday.
"If people want to go out and celebrate, go for it," Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Hank Chase said. "But just don't drink and drive."
The local agencies will be among 54 police and sheriff's departments assisting the state patrol this weekend.
This is the sixth year The Heat Is On campaign has targeted St. Patrick's Day. Since the campaign started, DUI arrests have increased nearly 26 percent. During that same time, alcohol-related fatalities have decreased about 20 percent across the state.
The Heat Is On is a partnership between the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado State Patrol and police and sheriff's departments.