DUI checkpoint nets 1 arrest

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More than 350 cars were stopped at a DUI checkpoint Friday on U.S. Highway 40 near Milner. The sobriety checkpoint resulted in one arrest for driving under the influence of drugs and one citation for possession of marijuana.

The man who was arrested for DUID was subsequently released after a Colorado State Patrol drug regulation expert evaluated him and determined that he was capable of driving safely.

Police stopped cars on U.S. 40 at mile marker 121, just west of Milner.

Routt County Sheriff's Office Deputy Michael Curzon said that the checkpoint was in conjunction with DUI Checkpoint Colorado, a statewide plan to discourage drunken drivers.

"The goal is so people know the probability of being contacted is increased," Curzon said. "Hopefully they'll think twice and have someone else drive."

The sheriff's office has teamed up with the Colorado Department of Transportation for the checkpoints, which will continue through Labor Day weekend. They began Memorial Day weekend. Curzon said there will be six checkpoint dates over the summer in Routt County.

The first DUI checkpoint was held June 6 and resulted in one drunken driving arrest. Statewide, there have been 110 DUI arrests.

Mairi Nelson, a spokesperson for CDOT, said 36 percent of Colorado traffic deaths in 2001 were alcohol-related. There were 267 alcohol-related traffic deaths in 2001, a 26 percent increase from 2000, Nelson said.

Nelson said DUI Checkpoint Colorado is supplementary to the Heat Is On program, which increases the state's DUI patrolling during holiday weekends.

DUI Checkpoint Colorado is modeled after a similar program that was very successful in Tennessee, Nelson said.

"The idea is to be conducting DUI checkpoints statewide to reduce alcohol related traffic deaths," Nelson said.

Federal money and the Law Enforcement Assistance Fund of Colorado funded DUI Checkpoint Colorado.

Nelson said LEAF receives money from fees that convicted drunk drivers have paid within the state, and does not use any state tax money.


-- To reach Erin Ragan call 871-4232

or e-mail intern@steamboatpilot.com

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