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WebXtra: East Texas police to be out ‘in force’ looking for intoxicated drivers

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 3:28 PM CST
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East Texas law enforcement officers say incidents of driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence traditionally increase during the holidays, and t

LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - East Texas law enforcement is reminding everyone not to drink and drive.

The holidays traditionally are a time when law enforcement sees a significant rise in ‘DWI’ cases, and they say the pandemic has also played a role in higher numbers.

The numbers of ‘DWI’ incidents are already rising in East Texas for December, something law enforcement is very familiar with.

“We understand it is the holiday season, we’re going to have an influx of driving while intoxicated cases. Having fun with the family but also drinking and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle,” says Longview police sergeant Jeremy Higginbotham.

In spite of decades of public service messages warning against drunk driving, the statistics remain consistent.

Smith and Gregg county are seeing increasing numbers, many second offenses.

“We do have a specialized grant. NITSA gives us that money, reimburses our city and taxpayers, to have specialized units go out and look for those specific violations,” Higginbotham says.

Statistically it’s normal to see higher levels of the violation during the holidays. The pandemic may be playing a part as well.

“During the pandemic, DWI arrests have been up. Alcohol related issues have been up. The pandemic, everybody’s confined in one location, they drink,” says Gregg county sheriff’s office chief deputy Craig Harrington.

A substantial cost for anyone caught drunk driving, but a bigger cost in lives.

“Just a small wreck can turn into a fatality, a minor fender bender,” Harrington says.

“It has an effect on families and other people involved. when it starts involving crashes then we’re involving lots of other people,” says Higginbotham.

So the message again is.

“If you drink, drive, you will go to jail. And we are out there looking,” says Harrington.

In Texas, just a first time ‘DWI’ offense could cost you a $3-thousand dollar fine and a maximum jail sentence of 6 months.

It also results in a driver’s license suspension.

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