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SCV Sheriff's Captain urges residents to celebrate responsibly

Posted: December 29, 2009 3:34 p.m.
Updated: December 29, 2009 3:35 p.m.

Three Santa Clarita Valley teens were critically injured in a recent car crash on Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. The mother of one of the teens has said she thinks alcohol was involved.

As the New Year approaches, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station would like to remind all residents to celebrate responsibly.

Successful New Year's Eve celebrations begin with careful planning and prudent judgment and any alcohol related event should include arrangements for designated drivers or other safe alternative accommodations. A designated driver is an individual within a group of people drinking alcoholic beverages at an event/establishment who remains sober to drive the others home afterwards.

"We can't stress enough the importance of celebrating New Year's Eve without endangering yourself, loved ones, or others in the community," said SCV Sheriff's Station Captain Anthony La Berge. "Make it a joyous start to 2010, not a tragic one!"

Every year during the holiday season, and particularly on New Year's Eve, some individuals make poor choices such as drinking alcohol and driving or firing bullets into the air in "celebration."

The critical importance of avoiding either of these cannot be overstated, as they can both have deadly results.

Many times, individuals involved in celebrating New Year's Eve with gunfire do not realize the dangers posed by their actions. When a bullet is fired into the air it will climb two miles, remain in flight for more than a minute, and ultimately fall back to earth with enough velocity to injure or kill someone.

At the very least, this method of celebration could result in severe consequences from law enforcement officials and the judicial system.

In an effort to keep everyone safe and ensure we all have a cheerful transition into 2010, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will increase patrols in many areas during the New Year's Eve holiday and will specifically look for drunk drivers and those who choose to celebrate in an unlawful manner.

The station will also field an extra patrol car just to respond to music and loud party complaints.

Don't Drink and Drive
Remember, underage drinking is against the law, but don't complicate matters by also driving.

In fact, just 11 days ago there was a tragic traffic collision in Santa Clarita involving a teenage driver and teenage passengers. The investigation into the alleged involvement of alcohol in that collision is continuing.

The adjacent picture from the collision serves as a reminder of how quickly things can happen and how violent the impact can be.

Serious injuries occurred during this collision, and  although three victims are still hospitalized, it is amazing that we have not yet lost another teenage life to a senseless accident.

Santa Clarita Safe Rides is a program independent of the Sheriff's Department that provides free, safe and confidential rides home to teenagers who are not in a condition to drive or want to avoid being a passenger with a dangerous driver.

On New Year's Eve or any Friday or Saturday night you can simply call (661) 259-6330. Although the Sheriff's Department does support the free service, as it has undoubtedly helped save lives, we do not condone underage/teenage drinking.

The fact is, since programs such as Safe Rides and Every 15 Minutes have been in existence, D.U.I.-related traffic collisions and deaths involving teenage drivers have decreased remarkably in the Santa Clarita Valley.

By following a few precautionary holiday safety guidelines and making responsible choices, we can all have the peaceful and uneventful holiday experience we envision and deserve.

On behalf of all the staff at your Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, Happy New Year!


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