Johnson City

St. Patrick's Day DUI patrols underway

St. Patrick's Day DUI patrols underway

St. Patrick's Day is only a few days away which means big business for bars this weekend. Law enforcement have already started their holiday DUI patrols.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol had nine checkpoints in our area on Friday, in Unicoi, Claiborne and Jefferson Counties. The stops will continue through the weekend into Monday night.

THP told us there's a higher risk of drunk driving this weekend, since St. Patrick's Day coincides with the races at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Trooper Paul Mooneyham said they've brought in extra crews from Chattanooga and Knoxville to help keep drunk drivers off the road.

"We've got roving patrols, we're saturating areas, having more personnel than we normally would," Mooneyham told us.

We found out these patrols let to the arrests of about 70 impaired drivers and about 13 people died in car crashes during the 72-hour holiday period in 2013.

"A very simple concept, if you drink then don't get behind the wheel," said Mooneyham.

At Numan's bar in downtown Johnson City, Barbara McDaniel knows this all too well. A drunk driver hit her when she was three years old.

"Came up on the sidewalk and hit me and dragged me 100 feet," she told us.

McDaniel said this is why, on St. Patrick's Day, she'll make sure she has a safe way home.

"There's always a designated driver between us friends, one of us does not drink," McDaniel told us.

The Virginia State Police will also be out this weekend. They told us, if you see a drunk driver on the road in Virginia, you should dial #77 to notify the police.


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