Santa Barbara drivers face strict DUI enforcement

In the ongoing effort to prevent the consequences of combining alcohol with driving on public streets, Santa Barbara Police Department’s DUI unit has arrested and booked 25 drivers over the past three weeks.

According to Lt. Paul McCaffrey, department spokesman, “Many of these drivers had blood-alcohol levels substantially higher than the .08 limit.” He further noted that a majority of the drivers arrested, tested and booked denied having consumed any alcohol whatsoever.

The list of arrestees and the circumstances of their arrests cut a wide swath through age groups, socio-economic levels, and fact situations leading to a number of incarcerations in Santa Barbara County Jail. By way of recent examples:

An hour past midnight in the early morning of May 7, Officer Paul Beutel, who holds the distinction of leading the department in DUI arrests and alcohol-related crime enforcement, observed a Jeep Wagoneer driving at a high rate of speed through the downtown Santa Barbara area. Believing the vehicle to be traveling in an unsafe manner, Officer Beutel attempted a traffic stop, but before that could be accomplished, the vehicle turned the wrong way down a one-way street. The Jeep quickly executed an abrupt U-turn, drove right past Beutel’s police cruiser in apparent disregard for its flashing red lights, and Beutel pursued the vehicle for several blocks. Shortly thereafter, the Jeep traversed a deep intersection swale, bottomed out with sparks flying as it careened through one of the city’s many “dips” and came to a halt. Arrested on the scene and charged with a variety of vehicle violations, including driving under the influence, was Aric Krasowski, 31.

Later that same day, just blocks from Krasowski’s arrest, Officer Charles Venable was summoned by residents reporting an “impaired” driver behind the wheel of a vehicle at curbside in a red No Parking zone.

Responding to the location, Venable discovered Liv Storvick, 37, behind the wheel of a VW Jetta demanding that someone return her car keys. Her keys, it seems, had been summarily confiscated by a group of older men playing bocce ball in a nearby park when Storvick had stumbled through their game, wanting to take pictures of them. Her photographic aspirations aside, Storvick — already on probation for felony DUI, suspended license, and failure to provide proof of insurance — was arrested for felony DUI … and the bocce ball game proceeded without further incident.

Only hours later, at 12:15 a.m. on May 8, 29-year-old Melissa Kirk approached a DUI checkpoint in her Toyota. Slowing down dramatically at the sight of the checkpoint, Kirk brought her vehicle to a stop and shifted into reverse gear, clearly intending to back away from the lane of orange cones displayed before her. She tested positive for alcohol, and was quickly booked for felony DUI.

Just minutes later, at approximately 12:30 a.m., Officer Israel Reyes observed a Lincoln Continental moving erratically through an eastside Santa Barbara neighborhood. Performing a routine traffic stop, Reyes made contact with the driver, Heidi Thomas, 43, who did not have in her possession a driver’s license or other valid identification. She then made the mistake of giving her sister’s name to Officer Reyes, who booked her for DUI under that name. Subsequently, with the assistance of Officer Beutel, Reyes discovered during the booking process Thomas’ true identity, which only compounded her legal problems. She was ultimately booked for felony DUI, driving on a suspended license, and felony false impersonation.

As another Santa Barbara weekend approaches, additional DUI checkpoints and citywide aggressive enforcement efforts are planned.

Santa Barbara drivers face strict DUI enforcement was last modified: January 9th, 2019 by admin
Categories: Santa Barbara

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