Saint Patrick's weekend crackdown nets 39 DUI arrests

Mom with baby in backseat among those arrested

SAN DIEGO - Authorities arrested dozens of people during several DUI checkpoints throughout San Diego County, including a young mother with her baby in the backseat of her car.

According to San Diego police Officer Mark McCullough, 38 people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence during the St. Patrick's Day weekend. McCullough said those numbers are from both DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols within city limits.

On Saturday, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department expanded patrols in Encinitas and arrested 19 people on suspicion of drunken driving. Other people were cited for being drunk in public, possession of an open alcoholic container, urinating in public and being a minor in possession of an alcoholic beverage, authorities said.

A checkpoint erected in the 600 block of E Street in Chula Vista on Saturday netted four DUI arrests and two dozen citations for license violations, according to Chula Vista police. A total of 2,468 vehicles passed through it, and 22 field sobriety tests were given, four of which resulted in arrests.

In Imperial Beach, the sheriff's department set up a DUI checkpoint Saturday that netted two arrests for public drunkenness. Seven other citations were issued for license violations. Two vehicles were impounded.

In addition to the DUI arrests, one motorist was arrested on suspicion of violating probation for a previous DUI conviction, one person was arrested on suspicion of cocaine possession, and one arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property, police said.

Twenty-four motorists were cited for driving without a license or driving with a suspended or revoked license, and 10 citations were issued for various traffic violations, police said.

San Diego police officers had to use a stop stick, more popularly known as a spike strip, to stop a couple drivers who did not follow directions.

One of the drivers almost fled onto state Route 94, but police were able to catch him.

"He had a previous felony conviction … so he was arrested for felony DUI," McCullough said.

"Through the night, we were busy from the time we opened to the time we closed," he added.

McCullough said the young mother arrested with her baby in her car was also charged with child endangerment. The baby was released to the mother's brother while the woman -- who police say is in her 20s -- was taken to jail.

McCullough added that many people prepare their plans for the bigger holidays, but fail to do so other times.

"New Year's is actually one of our lower nights because people actually plan ahead. They don't want to start the new year with a DUI. They don't always think about that with St. Patrick's Day or Cinco de Mayo or things like that," McCullough said.

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