Opinion

Troopers nab 161 ‘impaired’ drivers Christmas weekend

Washington State Patrol troopers across the state arrested 161 drivers suspected of being impaired by drugs or alcohol over the recent Christmas holiday weekend.

That’s down 33 arrests from 194 during the same weekend in 2010. The numbers do not include arrests made by local sheriff’s deputies or city police officers.

“We’re going in the right direction, but these numbers are still too high,” said State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. “There’s just no excuse for putting yourself and others at risk by driving while impaired.”

The State Patrol is aware of three fatal collisions during the holiday weekend, one of which involved drugs or alcohol. Drugs or alcohol are suspected in the death of a 47-year old Chehalis man on State Highway 2 near the Hewitt Avenue trestle in Snohomish County. Troopers believe an impaired driver went around barricades and drove onto a pedestrian walkway, killing one man and injuring another.

There were no fatal collisions during the same period in 2010.

Through Nov. 30, State Troopers had arrested 20,130 DUIs for the year. That’s up about 1 percent from the same period in 2010, but falls within a normal range of year-to-year variance.

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