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DUIs on the rise in SCV

July arrests for driving under the influence up from two years ago

Posted: August 5, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 5, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

At least 127 people were arrested in the Santa Clarita Valley last month for driving under the influence of alcohol ­­­ ­ — an average of four a day, according to booking logs for July.

The number has increased over the July DUI arrests two years ago, which stood at slightly more than 100, despite constant warnings by police and regular DUI checkpoints.

During the month July, officers with the California Highway Patrol arrested 84 people for DUI in the Santa Clarita Valley, while Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s deputies arrested an additional 42. Sheriff’s Department Parks Bureau deputies added one to the count.

“Driving under the influence continues to be a problem throughout the state and in this valley,” CHP Sgt. John Lutz said last week.

“The law and common sense make it absolutely clear that driving any vehicle, including a boat, after drinking is a critical mistake,” he said.

In July 2011, The Signal found that about half of all criminal suspects booked by sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers that month were charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol.

This year’s survey of the same month found more arrests made now than two years ago.

“Alcohol impairs your judgment, which makes driving, even buzzed driving, dangerous for you and other motorists. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: buzzed driving is drunk driving,” said Deputy Josh Dubin of the SCV Sheriff’s Station.

“Every year an astronomical number of people are killed in alcohol-related car accidents,” said Deputy Josh Dubin of the SCV Sheriff’s Station. “It is so important never to drink and drive.”

Nationwide in 2011, alcohol-impaired driving was involved in 31 percent of traffic fatalities, or 9,878 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. In 2002, impaired driving was blamed on the same percentage of traffic fatalities; however, the number was 13,472 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.

Locally, at least four people have died in recent alcohol-related traffic collisions.

- Meagan Elizabeth Carrier, 24, of Las Vegas died Feb. 3 this year when the 2007 Honda Pilot in which she was a passenger slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer stopped on the right shoulder of Interstate 5. Two months later the driver, James Samuel Buterbaugh, 25, of Bakersfield entered a plea of no contest to the charge of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in exchange for 16 months’ jail time.

- Timothy Hannum Hartwig, 53, a homeless man who at one time lived in Wofford Heights near Lake Isabella, was struck and killed about 1 a.m. March 2 while walking on Interstate 5. A 50-year-old Pasadena man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Prosecutors later announced they would not proceed with any charges against the driver due to lack of evidence.

- Quartz Hill Rev. Manard Giles, 77, died on June 22 following a traffic collision on Highway 14 caused by a wrong-way driver. Prosecutors say the driver, Bradford Pate, 38, of Burbank, was impaired when he entered the freeway driving against traffic. Two days after the collision, Mattie Lee Ferguson, 60, of Lancaster died from injuries suffered in the same crash. Pate faces two counts of murder.

jholt@signalscv.com

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