Providence Road sobriety checkpoint nets 21 arrests

Sunday, April 30, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:42 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 6, 2008

For the first time, four Boone County law enforcement agencies joined forces Friday evening in Columbia to operate a single sobriety checkpoint.

Between 11 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday, officials stopped a total of 618 vehicles headed south on Providence Road, administered 26 sobriety tests and arrested 21 people on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, said Sgt. Scott Ewing of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

About 60 law enforcement officials from the Sheriff’s Department, Columbia Police Department, MU Police Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol, as well as members of the Central Missouri chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and representatives of the Attorney General’s office and the Missouri Department of Transportation worked in the rain from near the intersection of Providence Road and Providence Point Drive south.

During the operation of the checkpoint, a large sign alerted southbound traffic on Providence Road to the checkpoint, and a “telescoping” light provided by the Columbia Fire Department illuminated the area, Ewing said.

Drivers were asked for identification and vehicle insurance and whether they had been drinking. If they said no and there was no reason to suspect they had been drinking and their car was in good working order, they were allowed to leave the checkpoint.

Those arrested were taken to Boone County Jail in shifts using vans and caged patrol cars, Ewing said. Officials also issued 23 warnings for seat belt violations and 16 warnings for equipment violations. Ewing said he wasn’t really surprised by those or any of the other statistics officials collected.

MU sophomore Mallory Lawrence heard about the checkpoint ahead of time from her boss.

“He just told me to be careful,” Lawrence said. She said she passed an unusual number of state troopers while driving in Columbia on Friday evening.

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