Law enforcement patrols set to increase during holiday weekend

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— Local law enforcement agencies are planning extra patrols on New Year’s Eve, when there will be no shortage of alternate transportation options for holiday revelers.

Steamboat Springs Transit operations manager Jonathan Flint said he expects the number of riders who use the city’s free bus service Saturday to nearly double to between 9,000 and 10,000 riders. The bus system will run additional buses on New Year’s Eve, and the buses will run more frequently.

About 5,000 riders take the free bus on a typical winter day.

“It will be the busiest night of the year we run,” Flint said.

Local law enforcement officials asked anyone who chooses to drink on New Year’s Eve to let someone else do the driving.

The Denver Post reported this week that more than 1,300 drivers in Colorado have been arrested for driving under the influence from Thanksgiving weekend through Monday. According to arrest records at the Routt County Jail, 21 have been cited for DUI in Routt County between Nov. 19 and Dec. 23. Another two were cited for driving while ability impaired.

That number is likely to increase with the Colorado State Patrol and Steamboat Springs Police Department conducting additional patrols this weekend.

Police Sgt. Rich Brown said a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation would provide funding to allow the department to pay additional patrol officers tonight and Saturday night. He said the extra patrols would enforce impaired driving.

State Patrol Sgt. Scott Elliott said there also would be additional troopers conducting DUI patrols in the Steamboat and Craig areas.

“We do those for most of the major holidays, particularly New Year’s,” he said.

Routt County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Mellisa Baumgartner wrote in an email that her department won’t staff additional deputies on New Year’s Eve.

“As always, the deputies will be on extra alert, but it will really just be business as usual,” she said.

New Year’s Eve also is among the busiest nights of the year for Go Alpine, which will triple its fleet of taxis and increase its office staff that night, General Manager Tracy Rogalski said.

Rogalski urged people to stay where they are after calling in a reservation and to answer their cellphone when the taxi driver calls.

“If people are a little patient, we will get to them,” she said.

Starting at about 10 p.m., intervals between the city’s buses would be reduced to 10 minutes instead of 20, Flint said. He said additional drivers will be on hand to make sure people are moved efficiently to their destinations. And he said extra buses would be available from Gondola Square after the torchlight parade and fireworks at 7 p.m. at Steamboat Ski Area.

Flint said the city has provided additional New Year’s Eve bus service for all 20 years he has worked for Steamboat.

“We know that it’s very busy and a lot of people are out having a good time,” he said. “It just offers an easy, safe way for people to get transported around and gives people the opportunity to take the free bus and not have to worry about driving and parking. Between us, the lodge shuttles that are out there, Go Alpine and Storm Mountain (Express), those are viable options for people to take so they don’t have to worry about driving.”

Reporter Scott Franz contributed to this story

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Stephen Evans 2 years, 3 months ago

Cops should protect our community By observing and testing every driver That departs popular bars like tugboat And old town pub. It is not safe to be On our roads with all the drunk drivers. why not set up checkpoints at mount Werner road and both ends of town?

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jerry carlton 2 years, 3 months ago

We disagree again YVB. Anything that can be done to get drunks off the road should be done. On the second DUI, I think the car should be forfeited. Drunks kill innocent people 365 days a year.

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Jessica Horne 2 years, 3 months ago

If you can afford to drink you can afford a Sober ride home....Call Sober Guys!

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Kevin Nerney 2 years, 3 months ago

Look for trouble most likely you will find trouble

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dave reynolds 2 years, 3 months ago

use of cell phones will driving..texting etc..is becoming a danger too..how bout obeying the laws and paying attention..everyone knows that speeding running red lights stop signs etc is the norm here so why add alcohol and cell phones to the mix..be safe..stay sober go to a movie or something

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1999 2 years, 3 months ago

I wish the cops would be more diligent EVERYNIGHT. But please leve the tasers in your partol car.

seems more people are going to drink and drive on any given friday (or tues, or sunday afternoon or.....) than they will on New Years Eve.

But I appreciate the effort!

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exduffer 2 years, 3 months ago

Steamboat- where every day is Christmas and every Friday night is New Year's Eve.

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rhys jones 2 years, 3 months ago

I was just up for a late-night smoke, and I noticed something. At this time of night, the traffic on Lincoln gets 15 seconds of green light at every stoplight. That'll separate the wheat from the chaff, huh. Are you trying to manufacture "probable cause"? And why aren't they that fast when I'm trying to cross Lincoln to my bus stop during the day? Think of the gas that is wasted by the working folks, as the cops try to ferret out the drunks. GOD I'm glad I stay out of your taser sights.

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rhys jones 2 years, 3 months ago

Now they stay green for 50 seconds (east-west). Fascinating.

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