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Public Safety

19 Motorists Arrested In Drunken Driving Patrols On St. Patrick's

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Drunken driving checkpoints in San Diego and patrols in Chula Vista over the St. Patrick's Day holiday resulted in the arrest of 19 motorists for drunken driving.

Seventeen motorists were arrested for drunken driving Thursday night and Friday morning at a checkpoint set up downtown by San Diego police, California Highway Patrol and the San Diego County Probation Department, authorities said.

The checkpoint was in operation in the East Village from 11 p.m. Thursday until 3 a.m. Friday to coincide with the St. Patrick's Day Shamrock block party in the Gaslamp Quarter, said San Diego police Officer Mark McCullough. Some 20,000 people are estimated to have attended the annual event.

Police said 2,325 vehicles passed through the checkpoint in the 1400 block of G Street. Officers screened 762 drivers. Ten of the 27 who were screened for drunken driving passed the field sobriety test. Nineteen vehicles were impounded, according to McCullough.

The checkpoint was made possible by a California Office of Traffic Safety grant.

Saturation patrol in Chula Vista

Two motorists were arrested for drunken driving during a St. Patrick's Day saturation patrol that ended early Friday morning in Chula Vista, police said.

There were 64 traffic stops during the operation, conducted from 7 p.m. Thursday through 2 a.m. Friday, police said. In addition to the two drunken driving arrests, 53 citations were issued to drivers for such infractions as disregarding a red light or stop sign, speeding, and driving on a suspended license. Three vehicles were towed, a police statement said.

The saturation patrol operations concentrate on locating drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This was the third of four scheduled saturation patrols to be conducted in March and was considered a success, police said.

Funding for the operation was provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.