Local law enforcement always takes a very dim view of drinking and driving, but this Easter weekend, especially, police and deputies were out to catch drunk drivers – and catch them they did. The late-night checkpoint, set up near the juncture of US-29 and NC-150, was such a broad effort to keep drunk drivers off the road that even the Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) Police got in on the act.
The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, along with the Greensboro Police Department, the Gibsonville Police Department, the UNCG Police Department, the Guilford County DWI Task Force – and the Airport Police – set up a “Booze it and Lose it” checkpoint at 11 p.m. on Thursday, April 18 and proceeded to nab offenders from then until 3 a.m.
A special unit from Raleigh established to address drunk driving and representatives of Mothers Against Drunk Driving were at the checkpoint, which resulted in three fugitives being arrested in addition to many other charges for others.
According to a statement from the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, the checkpoint’s location was “decided on in advance as part of an ongoing traffic enforcement initiative to save lives in Guilford County by the Greensboro Police Department and Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.”
Over 30 law enforcement officers took part in the operation that resulted in 56 citations for various offenses, as follows:
DWI Charges: 2
Under 21 DWI: 1
Seat Belt: 1
No Operator’s License: 9
Allowing Unlicensed Driver to Drive: 1
Driving License Revoked: 12
Registration Violation: 10
Other Traffic Charges: 20
Fugitives arrested: 3
Drug citations: 4
During the operation, officers collected a stolen gun and charged one person with felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana. They also seized over $10,000 in cash.
The Sheriff’s Department pointed to this joint operation “as an excellent example of agency collaboration and zero tolerance when it comes to driving under the influence.”
In the statement from the Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Danny Rogers thanked all the law enforcement groups and agencies that participated. Rogers especially praised the work of Sheriff’s Dept. Sgt. Kevin Wallace, who heads up the Guilford County DWI Task Force, and who, earlier this month, was awarded the 2019 Lifesavers Public Service Award at a conference in Louisville, Kentucky.
Under Wallace’s leadership, the task force has racked up an average of 978 impaired driving arrests over the last six years – more than any other task force in the state. Wallace has also helped implement DWI prevention strategies by adding a traffic safety educator to the enforcement team – making it, according to the Sheriff’s Department, the first in the nation to have a designated educator.