Holiday sees fewer accidents, DWIs in Columbia

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:58 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Even though Memorial Day weekend is often plagued by fatal car crashes and DWI incidents, there were no fatal accidents in the Columbia area over the three-day weekend, and local law enforcement officers only made a handful of DWI arrests.

The Columbia Police Department made three DWI arrests between Friday and Monday, while Troop F of the State Patrol made 10 DWI arrests at a checkpoint and during a saturation operation held from 10 p.m. Saturday until 3 a.m. Sunday.

The rest of Missouri did not fare as well. The Missouri State Patrol reported 10 fatalities and 208 DWI arrests statewide.

Troopers at the checkpoint at Rangeline Street and Brown School Road stopped 326 vehicles, making five DWI arrests. In the saturation operation, 15 troopers were dispersed throughout the county; they stopped 63 cars and made five DWI arrests.

The operations were funded by grant money, Lt. Vernon Dougan said.

Dougan said that although “the fact that it’s a holiday weekend makes it a more desirable weekend for a checkpoint,” the operation only produced an average numbers of arrests.

Sgt. Tim Moriarity, traffic supervisor for the Columbia police, said he was surprised at the low number of incidents for the weekend.

“We sometimes get that many in one night,” he said of the Police Department’s three DWI arrests.

Moriarity said the department was busy working at the air show and downtown parades and events in celebration of Memorial Day.

“We just appreciate everybody being safe,” Moriarity said. “Even though there were a few crashes out there, it was not a bad weekend for us.”

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