Crime - Sacto 911

DUI checkpoint in midtown Sacramento nabs at least one drunk driver

Cars line up for a sobriety checkpoint in midtown Sacramento on Wednesday night.
Cars line up for a sobriety checkpoint in midtown Sacramento on Wednesday night. The Sacramento Bee

Police officers had scooped up one drunk driver at their sobriety checkpoint in midtown Sacramento on Wednesday as of 9:30 p.m.

The checkpoint, at 21st Street and Capitol Avenue, was more about deterrence and education than catching drunk drivers, Sgt. Chris Prince said. A line of a dozen cars stretched down 21st Street.

“We want to make people think,” before they get in their vehicles intoxicated, he said. “Make people plan ahead.”

About 600 cars had gone through the checkpoint by 9:30 p.m, he said. Two drivers were unlicensed and one was driving on a suspended license. The checkpoint was scheduled to last until at least 11:30 p.m.

The night before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest nights of the year for bars.

The sobriety checkpoint is one of several programs the department runs to deter drunk drivers, Prince said. He heads the collision investigation unit.

A car with the front half painted like a police car and the back half painted like a taxi blocked off two lanes of 21st Street. Written on the side: “Choose your ride.”

The car is usually used in the department's Know Your Limit program, in which officers go to bars and clubs to talk to patrons about when it's appropriate to drive and when a taxi, or these days an Uber ride, is the better choice.

Prince said studies have shown that every dollar spent on deterrence measures such as checkpoints saves $6 dealing with accidents and DUIs.

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison

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