Intoxicated drivers, cyclist demonstrate reasoning for DUI crackdown

LOMPOC — The Lompoc Police Department saw good reason this week to continue its campaign against drunk driving, as five less-than-lucid motorists and one intoxicated man on a bicycle were booked into city jail last weekend alone.

Steven Allen Brownell, 27, was taken into custody at 2:45 a.m. Saturday morning, just minutes from his W. Chestnut Avenue residence, for riding a bicycle under the influence. Fellow local David Allen Smart, 21, failed to live up to his name late Friday night when he received three simultaneous charges for felony probation violation, driving under the influence of alcohol, and driving with a license suspended for a prior DUI.

Capt. Larry Ralston says Lompoc police regularly conduct traffic checkpoints to screen for impaired drivers and drivers with suspended or absent licenses.
“We do more checkpoints than any other city in the county,” he said Thursday, explaining the reasoning behind time-consuming vehicle checks that occasionally fall short of yielding a single arrest.

The primary role of each checkpoint is to deter would-be drunk drivers, not necessarily to lock away existing ones. For every intoxicated person Lompoc police extricate from behind the wheel, dozens more presumably make the right choice and call a cab.

“We hear about it all the time from patrons of the bars,” Ralston said. “‘The word is out, don’t get out on the street, the checkpoints are out tonight.’ Indirectly (the checkpoints) are very effective for us.”

Grants obtained through the Office of Traffic Safety provide the Lompoc police force with the resources necessary to realize these ambitions.
“We have the opportunity to get this funding and we take advantage of it for the safety of the community,” Ralston said.

The department has no intention of relaxing its efforts and plans to conduct an average of three checkpoints per month over the next year.
— Taylor Gutsche

Intoxicated drivers, cyclist demonstrate reasoning for DUI crackdown was last modified: July 17th, 2012 by admin
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