Police plan DUI checkpoint

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A DUI checkpoint will be set up this weekend as part of a statewide program to crack down on drunken driving.

On Saturday night, the Steamboat Springs Police Department will stop drivers on U.S. Highway 40 between Trafalgar Drive and Angler's Drive. Sgt. Nick Bosick said they would hold the checkpoints on both west- and eastbound lanes.

"We will try to switch them throughout the night to mix it up a bit," Bosick said.

The checkpoint will go from 9 p.m. to about 2 a.m.

The Routt County Sheriff's Office and Colorado State Patrol will assist in the checkpoint.

A federal grant has promoted a summer checkpoint program throughout the state. This is the fifth checkpoint in Routt County; the first four netted three DUI arrests. Statewide, 55 checkpoints have resulted in 389 arrests.

The grant money allows the agencies to have extra officers on duty for enforcement. The police department expects to see between 800 and 900 vehicles.

Police will probably hold one or two more checkpoints before the end of the year, Bosick said.

The checkpoints are intended to deter drunken driving rather than catch drunken drivers, and as such they are well-publicized events. Advertisements are running on the radio and media coverage is encouraged, partially because the government requires agency to notify the public of such checkpoints.

The hope is that people who are out Saturday night will choose not drive after drinking or choose a designated driver. The intent is to not sneak out in the night, set up a DUI checkpoint and arrest as many people as possible, Bosick said.

"We hope for zero arrests," he said. "But I am sure there will be half a dozen who don't make it through."

The checkpoint is also intended to be an educational tool, a reminder to not drink and drive.

"(People) know we are out there, that we are going to be doing this and we are not going to let them slide," Bosick said. "We want to step up the educational efforts as well as going out and finding the drunks."

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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