Published on March 16th, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman0
St. Patty’s Day to bring DUI hunt in Tempe, Scottsdale
Tempe police will be conducting DUI enforcement St. Patrick’s Day on the heels of two serious collisions this week – one fatal – involving suspected impaired drivers.
Officers and deputies from the Tempe and Scottsdale police departments and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office will be out in force in both cities Sunday.
Much of the enforcement will focus on the downtown areas, but also will include all neighborhood and city streets in and around the cities, Tempe traffic Lt. Randy Wilson said.
“It’ll be centered around St. Patrick’s Day festivities,” he said. “It’s one of the major drinking holidays.”
Wilson said officers who participate in the task forces are passionate about it because they want to prevent injuries and deaths like the ones that occurred this week when two different suspected impaired drivers in separate incidents collided with other vehicles, killing one person and sending another to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
On Sunday, Kaylynn Ruth Kayanie, 25, was allegedly speeding west on Broadway Road about 9 a.m. when she ran a red light and struck another vehicle that was driving south on Priest Drive, Police Department spokeswoman Molly Enright said.
The 45-year-old female driver of the other vehicle was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, while two pedestrians in the crosswalk were treated and released from the hospital after being hit by flying debris from the collision.
Investigators suspect Kayanie was impaired and are awaiting drug-test results, she said.
On Tuesday night, 21-year-old Elsa Tovar was killed when the motorcycle she was driving was struck by Veronica Muckerman, 32, of Tempe, who police believe was drunk, Enright said.
Muckerman allegedly failed to yield to Tovar when turning left from westbound Broadway onto Rural Road about 5:50 p.m., she said.
Maricopa County Superior Court records show Muckerman, whose 9- and 12-year-old daughters were with her in the GMC Yukon with her, registered a blood alcohol-content of at least 0.137 percent on a breathalyzer test. The legal limit is .08.
Wilson said the two instances underscore the importance of DUI enforcement and exemplify why officers are so passionate.
“It’s not a job to them any longer,” he said. “They see these incidents as unnecessary harm and injury and death.”
Tempe police had 1,983 total DUI arrests last year, including 291 drug DUI arrests, according to Police Department statistics. That National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 700 people were killed nationwide in collisions involving drunk drivers during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday from 2006 to 2010.
Police hope the high-visibility presence will “make somebody think twice” and deter people from driving impaired so “we don’t get called out and have to deal any of those incidents again this weekend,” Wilson said.
He encouraged people to choose a designated driver ahead of time or put the phone numbers for several cab companies into their phones before they leave so they “don’t have to think about it.”
“Be responsible. Be smart,” Wilson said. “If you’re going to go out and drink, that’s fine. Let’s just make sure that you get home safe.”
Source: The Republic “St. Patty’s Day to bring DUI hunt in Tempe, Scottsdale,” March14, 2013.