Local troopers make most holiday DUII busts

Oregon State Police troopers from the Central Point office arrested 12 drivers on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants over the Memorial Day weekend, the most of any OSP office, the agency said.

Statewide, OSP arrested 88 drivers on DUII charges, up from 81 DUII arrests during each of the previous two Memorial Day weekends, an OSP news release said.

The number of deaths on Oregon's roads also was up this year, OSP's preliminary figures show. Ten people died in six separate crashes between Friday, May 25, and Monday, May 28. This is the highest number of fatalities during the holiday weekend since 1982 when 11 people died, OSP said. Four of the six fatal crashes and half of the fatalities this year involved motorcycles.

Oregon State Police joined with 101 city police and county sheriff departments as part of the national "Click It or Ticket" blitz, the northwest's Three Flags Blitz, and the national Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) over the long weekend. The efforts focused on encouraging seat belt use and stopping impaired drivers, speeders and aggressive drivers, as well as stemming illegal drug transport and helping disabled motorists.

Troopers ticketed 400 people for safety belt and child safety seat violations and helped nearly 300 disabled motorists, OSP reported.

Medford police also had extra patrols on the street as part of the program, Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau said. Police got reports of 17 impaired drivers and arrested six people on DUII charges, he said.

Officers also recovered two stolen cars after separate pursuits and responded to numerous fights and disturbances, Budreau said.

"It was an average holiday weekend," he said. "Anytime you have get-togethers with drinking, you have an increased chance of trouble."

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department reported that statistics about the weekend's activity won't be available until later this week.

Josephine County Sheriff's Department made no DUII arrests, responded to two injury crashes and one boat accident. In the face of deep budget cuts, deputies made seven arrests, including two for felonies, Sheriff Gil Gilbertson said. They also responded to 12 domestic violence cases and took reports of six stolen vehicles, including three boats at the annual Boatnik festival. The boats and two of the other vehicles were recovered, he said.

The Oregon State Sheriffs' Association reported a busy holiday weekend statewide.

Around the state, sheriffs' offices reported that they made 117 DUII arrests, and two arrests on charges of boating under the influence of intoxicants. Deputies responded to 4 fatal motor vehicle crashes and 70 other crashes that resulted in injuries, the association said. They also made 107 felony arrests and 463 total arrests. Sheriffs across the state also headed 11 search-and-rescue missions.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.

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