Tis' the season to be merry, and that might include having an adult beverage or two, but if you do, please make sure you don't drive drunk.
Law enforcement agencies across the country are conducting emphasis patrols to get drunk drivers off the road, including the St. Helens Police Department in Oregon.
On Monday morning, the department's honorary patrol officer, Officer Claus, assisted other St. Helens officers with a traffic stop at 8:00 a.m. Dispatch received several calls about a driver swerving between lanes and even sideswiping a parked car.
Officer Claus found St. Helens resident "Abominable T. Snowman" behind the wheel. Mr. Snowman was arrested and charged with reckless driving and DUI after his BAC was found to be at .16 percent, twice the legal limit.
“Mr. Snowman admitted that he was driving home from a holiday party where he drank a little too much peppermint schnapps,” said Officer Claus. “He thought that he would be okay to drive the short distance back to his house. Clearly, that was not the case.”
Abominable is scheduled to be arraigned at the Columbia County Courthouse on Wednesday, December 20 and faces up to 365 days in jail and a maximum fine of $6,250, according to the department.
“Mr. Snowman is very lucky that more serious property damage or injury to a pedestrian or fellow driver did not occur,” said Officer Claus. “However, his holiday season will be significantly less cheery this year as he faces potential jail time and fines. We hope that he can be a lesson to anyone that may consider drinking and driving during the holidays.”
The St. Helens Police Department offered the following tips if you're going to hit up some holiday parties this season (or anytime for that matter):
- Plan ahead. If you are planning to drink, plan ahead: volunteer to be a designated driver, designate a sober driver or arrange for a taxi to pick you up at a set time.
- Be responsible. If you are hosting a party, offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and help your guests be responsible. Don't let someone who has been drinking get behind the wheel.
- Walking or bicycling after dark? Wear bright clothes to help you stand out.
- Buckle up, every trip, every time.
- Drive defensively at all times.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as many as 10,000 Americans die each year in alcohol related crashes. Over a five-year period, almost 4,000 people died in drunk driving crashes during December.
Be safe out there, everyone. Don't end up like Mr. Snowman.