As Memorial Day weekend approaches, law enforcement is gearing up for its yearly crackdown on impaired drivers. It’s an old warning, but one that bears constant repeating: If you drink, don’t get behind the wheel. One man just got nearly a half-century behind bars for not heeding such warnings.
Police prepare for 3-day weekend
Three-day holiday weekends tend to be among the heaviest times of the year for people to operate their vehicles in a less-than-sober condition. Law enforcement expects this and prepare for it.
Sgt. Robert Pauole, who leads the Traffic Services Section for the Hawaii Police Department, said:
“We officers do what we can to increase patrol and traffic enforcement during the dangerous weekends.”
Lower gas prices up traffic
The same is true across the nation. Lowering gas prices means drivers will be thick on the road this year. All over the nation, law enforcement is planning for an increased presence and more sobriety checkpoints to crackdown on seat belt law violators and DUIs.
Texas extreme DUI
An extreme case in Texas has also served to shine a spotlight on the issue of drunk driving. Despite ever-increasing penalties and deterrents, some people will never get the message.
Stephen Andrew Hall, 59, of Fort Worth was convicted last week of his fifth DUI charge. The jury returned a verdict in only four minutes. His blood alcohol in the most recent arrest was .18, nearly double the legal limit.
Forty-five year sentence
Hall was sentenced to 45 years behind bars, and must serve at least 11 before being eligible for parole.
The Tarrant County district attorney’s office told CBS that the sentence was appropriate:
“The 45-year sentence was fitting considering his prior DWI history. [It] ensures that he will not be able to drive a vehicle on our roads for a very long time.”
Hall, however, characterized the sentence as “pretty weak,” according to the Tarrant County district attorney’s office. Does that mean he thinks it should have been longer or that it was unfair? This reporter leaves that up to the reader.
New Jersey five-time loser
Meanwhile, Anderson Sotomayor, a 45-year-old resident of Vineland, N.J., was arrested last week on his fifth DUI in as many weeks. Sotomayor has two previous convictions for drunk driving, and his license has been suspended a whopping 23 times. Local authorities say they are exasperated with his refusal to take the charges seriously.
Perhaps they should take a cue from Texas.