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by ARLnow.com — February 3, 2016 at 3:05 pm 0

Police car (file photo)The Arlington County Police Department plans to tackle drunk driving on Super Bowl Sunday with extra cops patrolling for DUI drivers.

Police hope to intercept intoxicated drivers before they injure themselves or others. Typically, alcohol-related crashes spike on the day of the Super Bowl.

So far no DUI checkpoints are in the game plan, said a police spokeswoman, but ACPD is encouraging those who are drinking during the big game to hand off their keys to a responsible, designated driver.

The department issued the following pre-game press release yesterday:

The Super Bowl is America’s most watched national sporting event. On Super Bowl Sunday, February 7, there will be lots of game day socializing that may include drinking. That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Arlington County Police Department are urging football fans to choose sides now: drinking OR driving. If you plan on drinking on Super Bowl Sunday, designate a sober driver to get you home safely.

NHTSA’s Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign encourages people to make plans ahead of time that will prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. Driving impaired could result in injury or death for you or others on the road.

According to data from NHTSA, in 2012 there were 10,322 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in the United States–31 percent of all crash fatalities in the nation. A driver is considered alcohol-impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, the legal limit in all states. This February 7, don’t become a tragic SuperBowl stat.

For those who plan to drink, leave your keys at home. Designate a sober driver, whether it’s a friend, relative, taxi, or public transportation. For those who plan to drive, refrain from any alcohol. Instead, enjoy the game with food and non-alcoholic drinks. Being a sober, designated driver is a key role on Super Bowl Sunday. You might just save a life.

For more Super Bowl weekend safety information, visit http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/SuperBowl.

by ARLnow.com — December 16, 2015 at 9:25 am 0

Arlington County police carThe Arlington County Police Department will begin increasing patrols over the holidays, starting this Friday, in an effort to combat drunk driving.

ACPD says it will be upping patrols and setting up DUI checkpoints from Dec. 18 to Jan. 3. Nationwide, there’s an increase in drunk driving deaths around Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

From an ACPD press release:

Due to the increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across America will be actively searching for and arresting drunk drivers from December 18, 2015 to January 3, 2016. In December 2013 alone, there were 733 people killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Twenty-three of those deaths occurred on Christmas Day.

If you plan on drinking at the holiday party or at a restaurant, hand the keys over to someone else – a sober friend, a taxi or public transportation. Or, try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend by identifying their location so they can be picked up. The app is available at http://ow.ly/RWs3S for Android and http://ow.ly/RWs8h for iPhone users.

As part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign period, police will be increasing the number of patrols, setting up roadblocks and using local media to reach out to all drivers. If you’re drinking and driving, Arlington County Police Department will stop you.

If you see a drunk driver on the road, call the police right away. If someone you know is about to drive after drinking, take their keys and help them get home safely.

Please follow these tips to keep the holidays safe and happy:

  • Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk–or worse, the risk of having a crash.
  • If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
  • If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation or call SoberRide at 1-800-200-TAXI.

Remember, driving after drinking should never be an option. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

by ARLnow.com — September 15, 2015 at 10:30 am 3,426 0

Arlington police carLocal and state law enforcement are planning a drunk driving crackdown in Arlington on Thursday.

A sobriety checkpoint will be set up in an undisclosed part of Arlington Thursday night, according to an Arlington County Police Department press release.

“Officers will stop all vehicles passing through the checkpoint and ask to see the licenses of drivers,” the police department said. “Any driver suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be directed to a safe area off the roadway for further observation and possible testing for intoxication.”

The checkpoint is being conducted by ACPD, the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police, as part of a “national crackdown program on drunk driving that focuses on combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.”

“The maximum penalty in Virginia for the first conviction for driving under the influence is 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine and a 12-month suspension of driving privileges,” the press release notes.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 30, 2015 at 3:45 pm 5,288 0

Police car lightsDrivers, beware: the Arlington County Police Department is conducting a sobriety checkpoint somewhere in the county tomorrow night.

ACPD will team with the Virginia State Police, Fairfax County police and the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office to conduct the checkpoint.

Wherever it is, every driver will have his or her license checked and will be asked to take sobriety tests if the officers suspect alcohol consumption.

From the police press release:

On Friday, May 1, 2015 the Arlington County Police Department will conduct a joint sobriety checkpoint with assistance from the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, and the Fairfax County Police Department across two jurisdictions.  These enforcement efforts are in support of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) National crackdown program on drunk driving that focuses on combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.

Officers will stop all vehicles passing through the checkpoint and ask to see the licenses of drivers.  Any driver suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be directed to a safe area off the roadway for further observation and possible testing for intoxication.

The maximum penalty in Virginia for the first conviction for driving under the influence is 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine and a 12-month suspension of driving privileges.

by ARLnow.com — March 4, 2015 at 9:00 am 3,524 0

Arlington police carThe Arlington County Police Department is planning a cross-jurisdictional sobriety checkpoint Friday night.

The department did not specify where exactly the checkpoint would be, but did say that Fairfax County would also be conducting its own checkpoint in conjunction.

From an ACPD press release:

On Friday, March 6, 2015 the Arlington County Police Department will conduct a joint sobriety checkpoint with assistance from the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, and the Fairfax County Police Department across two jurisdictions. These enforcement efforts are in support of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) National crackdown program on drunk driving that focuses on combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.

Officers will stop all vehicles passing through the checkpoint and ask to see the licenses of drivers. Any driver suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be directed to a safe area off the roadway for further observation and possible testing for intoxication.

The maximum penalty in Virginia for the first conviction for driving under the influence is 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine and a 12-month suspension of driving privileges.

by ARLnow.com — December 15, 2014 at 11:00 am 1,101 0

Unveiling of a half cab-half police cruiserSoberRide, the local anti-drunk driving program that offers free cab rides during certain festive occasions, has launched for the entire holiday season.

The program started up Friday night and will run through New Year’s Day.

Every night through Jan. 1, between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., those in the D.C. area who have been drinking and need a lift  home can call 1-800-200-TAXI for a free cab ride up to a $30 fare.

Arlington’s Red Top Cab is among the local D.C. area cab companies participating. Organizers say SoberRide saves lives.

“Last December, nearly 1,900 (1,877) Greater Washington residents did the right thing and availed themselves of this lifesaving service rather than possibly driving home impaired,” said Kurt Erickson, president of the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), which runs SoberRide. “For SoberRide’s hours of operation during just last New Year’s Eve, such ridership (463) translated into the removal of a would-be drunk driver from our shared roadways every 62-seconds.”

WRAP and the Arlington County Police Department unveiled a half-cab, half-police cruiser (pictured) in 2012 to help promote the SoberRide program.

by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2014 at 11:00 am 8,832 0

Police car (file photo)(Updated at 1:00 p.m.) A woman was struck by a car on Little Falls Road Friday night, in an accident eerily similar to one that claimed the life of an Arlington mother earlier this year.

The incident happened at 11:22 p.m. on the 6000 block of Little Falls Road, just a block or two from where the Feb. 24 crash occurred. Police say a woman was loading her small children into an SUV on the eastbound side of the road when a vehicle traveling eastbound swerved across the bike lane and struck the parked SUV, pushing it onto the sidewalk.

The woman, a 31-year-old Vienna resident, suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to police. Her children, ages 6 months and 2 years old, were not injured.

The SUV was legally parked, noted police spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.

The striking vehicle came to rest in the eastbound lanes, after a 180 degree spin. The driver, identified as 54-year-old Arlington resident Susan Geigan, is currently free on bond after being charged with DUI, Malcolm said.

Geigan was not injured. Additional charges may be pending.

“It’s the holiday season and unfortunately we see more people taking the risk of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated,” said Malcolm.

The crash is improbably similar to the fatal accident on Feb. 24, which occurred just down the street. In that incident, a dump truck struck a woman on westbound Little Falls Road, across from Nottingham Elementary, as she was loading her young child into a minivan.

The victim later died. The driver of the dump truck was charged with a traffic infraction — alcohol was not a factor, police said. Another difference: there was no bike lane between traffic and parked cars on the stretch of Little Falls Road in front of the school.

Police are working with the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services on potential safety-enhancing changes to Little Falls Road, according to spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.

by ARLnow.com — November 21, 2014 at 5:55 pm 2,709 0

SoberMan, SoberWoman's other half, poses with an unidentified woman in Clarendon

A new superhero will be hitting the streets and bars of Clarendon Saturday night.

“SoberWoman” is described as the “witty better half” of SoberMan (left), the anti-DUI superhero who tried to save Clarendon bargoers from poor post-drinking decision making last December.

“SoberWoman will engage with patrons at Arlington area restaurants and quiz them on how they plan to get home after partying,” according to a press release. “She will award prizes to those who have made advanced plans to get home safely by not drinking and driving. SoberWoman will pose for pictures and encourage bar-goers to share photos and her mission via social media, using hashtag #SoberWoman.”

SoberWoman is planning on stopping by Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd), Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street) and Spider Kelly’s (3181 Wilson Blvd) between 10:00 p.m. and midnight on Saturday. She will be joined by Arlington County Police Department Captain Kamran Afzal and Kurt Erickson, president of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program.

The arrival of SoberWoman should attract some attention. She will “arrive in a police motorcade and use a P.A. system to announce her mission at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Filmore St., adjacent to Whitlow’s,” according to the press release. “She will repeat her police ‘sirens and lights’ arrival at the following bars before engaging bar-goers inside”

Organizers say SoberWoman’s superpowers — namely, “continued vigilance and heightened awareness about drinking and driving” — are needed because drunk driving fatalities have been on the rise in Virginia over the last two years.

by ARLnow.com — September 18, 2014 at 4:30 pm 3,853 0

Arlington DUI checkpoint on St. Patrick's Day 2010 (via ABC7)The Arlington County Police Department is planning to conduct a sobriety checkpoint somewhere in the county Friday night.

The police department does not announce the location of DUI checkpoints in advance, but often targets arterial routes used by those coming from restaurants and bars.

“This enforcement effort is in support of [a] national crackdown program on drunk driving that focuses on combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity,” ACPD said in a press release.

“Officers will stop all vehicles passing through the checkpoint and ask to see the licenses of drivers,” the press release continued. “Any driver suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be directed to a safe area off the roadway for further observation and possible testing for intoxication. The maximum penalty in Virginia for the first conviction for driving under the influence is 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine and a 12-month suspension of driving privileges.”

The Sheriff’s Office will also participate in the checkpoint.

by ARLnow.com — March 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm 12,023 0

Former Drew Elementary principal Jacqueline Smith (photo via APS)Drew Model Elementary School principal Jacqueline Smith resigned earlier this month, just days after being arrested for driving under the influence.

Smith, a 53-year-old Arlington resident, was arrested on the 1100 block of S. Rolfe Street, in the Arlington View neighborhood, around 3:30 a.m. on Friday, March 7. Smith was observed by an officer stopping at a green light, weaving in and out of lanes and almost striking a parked car, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The officer pulled Smith over and she subsequently failed a field sobriety test, Sternbeck said. Smith was arrested and taken to the Arlington County Detention Center. Four days after the arrest, Drew Elementary parents were notified that Smith was “retiring.”

“We wanted to let you know that Jackie Smith, Principal of Drew, has informed us that she plans to retire from her position with the Arlington Public Schools for personal reasons,” wrote Arlington Public Schools superintendent Patrick Murphy. “She will be on leave the remainder of this week, and will retire effective March 17. We wish her the best in the future.”

“I have been grateful for my 21 years in Arlington as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal,” Smith said in the letter. “The support I have received through the years from Dr. Murphy, APS administrators, the School Board, and the many dedicated teachers and educational leaders throughout the county has been greatly appreciated. I want to express my best wishes to the Drew Model School staff, students, and community, and I hope for their continued success as they work to provide excellent learning opportunities for our children.”

Asked by ARLnow.com if Smith had been fired, APS spokeswoman Linda Erdos said “that statement is not accurate.” Theresa Bratt, who retired from APS last year, is now serving as interim principal at the school.

Smith’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 19. Court documents indicate that, if convicted, this would be her first DUI.

Photo via APS

by ARLnow.com — March 18, 2014 at 12:30 pm 1,584 0

Arlington’s half police car-half taxi cab has been made into a scale model.

The vehicle, which is used to help discourage drunk driving, is a Ford Crown Victoria painted as both a police cruiser and a taxi, with the slogan “Choose Your Ride.” A company called Ixo Models is now manufacturing a 1/43 scale model version.

The model is available for sale for $37.95.

Hat tip to John Antonelli

by ARLnow.com — March 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm 8,936 0

dui-checkpoint-abc7Arlington cops will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint Friday night.

The Arlington County Police Department and the Arlington Sheriff’s Office will jointly conduct the DUI checkpoint at an as-yet undisclosed location in the county. It’s part of the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” drunk driving crackdown.

“Officers will stop all vehicles passing through the checkpoint and ask to see the licenses of drivers,” ACPD said in a press release. “Any driver suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be directed to a safe area off the roadway for further observation and possible testing for intoxication.”

The maximum penalty in Virginia for a first DUI conviction is 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine and a 12-month suspension of driving privileges.

File photo via WJLA

by Katie Pyzyk — December 20, 2013 at 10:00 am 5,008 0

It started on Thursday night with numerous police vehicles zooming into Clarendon with sirens blaring. Drivers pulled over and pedestrians stopped in their tracks. Suddenly, revelers were met with a most unusual sight — a superhero in a cape and leotard emerging from the Chooser Cruiser. Arlington, meet Soberman.

While his getup produced many laughs, Soberman’s message was serious: don’t drink and drive. Speaking through a police car loudspeaker, Soberman told everyone to have fun and enjoy their adult beverages, but to make a smart choice when trying to get home by using a designated driver, taxi, public transportation or by walking.

Soberman’s appearance was coordinated by the Arlington County Police Department and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). Attendees were reminded of WRAP’s free holiday taxi service through SoberRide, which runs through New Year’s Day.

WRAP President Kurt Erickson said this is a bit of a different tactic for getting people not to drink and drive. The idea is all about engaging people in a fun way to get Soberman’s message to sink in.

“The message for the rest of the year is that police have stepped up to apprehend drunk drivers. But this message is not about that. This message is hey, celebrate responsibly,” said Erickson. “It’s extremely well received. It’s just a little bit of a different message.”

Soberman repeatedly said that people should enjoy the holiday cheer and they don’t necessarily need to stop drinking, they just should be responsible after drinking. He said his mission is “not to be a buzz kill, only to make sure the buzz doesn’t hit the road.”

Drinkers and non-drinkers alike gathered around Soberman to chat with him and to pose for photos. Passengers leaned out of passing cars to snap pictures and people who spotted the commotion came out of buildings to get a better glimpse. Soberman yelled across Wilson Blvd to a number of drinkers who had just stepped out of bars and began cheering. He waved them over to his spot in front of Whitlow’s.

“Partiers of Clarendon, come over here! Soberman wants to talk to you about how you’re getting home!” he said. “You can win prizes!”

The anti-drunk driving superhero approached one man emerging from a bar and said, “Hello, Arlington partier. I am Soberman.” The bar patron promptly replied, “I am Drunkman.” Soberman congratulated the man for having fun and asked the all-important question,”Drunkman, how are you getting home tonight?”

Like all those who were able to prove they had a safe and sober ride home, the man received a Starbucks gift card from Soberman for making a wise choice. The man flashed a Metro card and said he had no intention of getting behind the wheel.

Soberman especially encouraged folks in Clarendon to use social media to spread the word about staying sober while driving. Those who took the message to Twitter have a chance to win a John Wall or Alex Ovechkin bobblehead.

Part of the campaign is to get drinkers to plan ahead instead of trying to come up with a way to get home once they are already impaired.

“People just need to plan ahead, but they often don’t,” Erickson said. “Leaving the bar is not the time to make an exit strategy. If you’re able to plan an evening out, you should be able to plan a safe way home.”

Soberman first appeared at the end of August but has been particularly active during the holiday season.

“My mission is to prevent drunk driving before it starts,” said Soberman. “Any way you get home safe after having adult beverages — by designated driver or bus or Metro or cab — is the safe and sober choice.”

by Katie Pyzyk — November 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm 3,312 0

Police car lightsPolice had a particularly busy afternoon on Sunday (November 24) due to a number of hit and run DUI incidents.

The Arlington County Police Department responded to 14 DUI incidents this weekend. On Sunday afternoon alone, there were four DUI hit and run cases. Police say that number is more typical of a Friday or Saturday night, not a Sunday afternoon.

“This is not a typical shift, with four similar DUI hit and runs. We were able to locate the individuals and apprehend them a short time after the incidents,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “This is unusual for a Sunday afternoon.”

One of the incidents involved police receiving calls about a car on I-66 westbound with what appeared to be one missing tire. Officers checking out the reports saw the driver of the vehicle hit another vehicle and attempt to leave the scene. She then reportedly hit the concrete barrier, which stopped her car near Glebe Road.

Officers had to remove the woman from her vehicle because they said she was unable to stand or hold up her own head. She was taken to the hospital as a precaution but did not have any serious injuries. Blood drawn at the hospital showed the woman had a blood alcohol level of .36. She was arrested for DUI and hit and run.

All of the drivers in the other three hit and run incidents were also tracked down and arrested for DUI and hit and run, among other offenses.

ACPD cautions drivers that DUI incidents tend to increase during holiday weeks. The department will have addition patrols out this week checking for drunk drivers in light of the Thanksgiving holiday.

“If you’re driving, please don’t drink,” Sternbeck said. “If you do drink alcohol, please use a sober designated driver and wear your seatbelt.”

by Ethan Rothstein — September 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm 2,486 0

A Falls Church man crashed his car into Arlington’s Fire Station No. 9 earlier this week.

Yancy Carrera, 33, drove into the corner of the fire house at 4:05 a.m. Sunday morning, according to police. He was arrested charged with DUI and felony destruction of property.

A fire department official said no one was injured in the crash, which caused only cosmetic damage to the building. So far, there is no estimate on the cost of the repairs.

From this week’s Arlington County crime report:

FELONY DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY, 09/22/13, 1900 block of S. Walter Reed Drive.  At 4:05 am, an intoxicated subject drove his vehicle into the corner of Fire Station #9. Yancy Carrera, 35, of Falls Church, VA, was arrested and charged with DUI and felony destruction of property. He was held with no bond.

The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

(more…)

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