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Two ACPD cruisers damaged by alleged drunk drivers, amid rise in DUI arrests

Arlington police cruiser damaged by alleged DUI driver in crash (photo via ACPD)

Arlington police cruisers were “significantly” damaged in two separate DUI crashes in September, according to ACPD.

The police department said on social media that the crashes happened while “officers were working incidents along Arlington roadways” but “the cruisers were unoccupied at the time of the crashes and no officers were injured.”

It’s a cautionary tale against both drunk driving and failing to drive carefully around those working in the roadway, police say.

“These crashes highlight the dangers emergency personnel can face when they step out onto the roadway to assist travelers and keep our communities safe,” write ACPD. “We all have a responsibility to protect those who protect us. Slow down and move over when you see flashing red, blue or amber lights.”

The drivers of both striking vehicles were arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence, the police department said. These incidents come amid a continued rise in DUI arrests.

DUI arrests in Arlington (image courtesy ACPD)

After falling in the first year of the pandemic, DUI arrests have been on the rise in Arlington County, according to ACPD stats provided to ARLnow. Between the first of the year and Sept. 22, there were 342 DUI arrests, compared to 253 and 318 arrests during that same time period in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

A fatal hit-and-run that killed a woman crossing the street near Thomas Jefferson Middle School in August has also brought attention to DUI and alcohol-related crashes. The driver was later arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter, hit and run, driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license.

Alcohol-related crashes in Arlington are up nearly 50% since 2020, ARLnow reported earlier this month.

“Remember, it is never okay to drink and drive,” ACPD said via social media. “Always plan a sober ride — whether it’s a ridesharing service, taxi, public transportation, or designated sober driver.”

Asked about how the department handles cruisers being damaged by crashes, police spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow that if repairs are not possible it takes 6-8 months to outfit a new cruiser.

“ACPD maintains a fleet of police vehicles for officer use,” Savage said via email. “Generally speaking, vehicles involved in crashes are removed from service and taken to the equipment yard for evaluation and repair. If a police vehicle is determined to no longer be operational due to a crash, it takes approximately 6 – 8 months to obtain and outfit a vehicle with the necessary police equipment.”

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