The Albany County Stop-DWI program held its second DWI-sweep of the year from 10 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5 to 5 a.m. Monday Feb. 8. A total of 1,048 vehicles were stopped and 21 people were arrested for DWI.
Two additional arrests were for the felony level offense of aggravated-DWI, with the person testing at a BAC of at least 0.18. Another two arrests were for DWAI, with the person arrested being under the influence of drugs. The average BAC of the DWI arrests was 0.13, with New York State Police from Troop G arresting a person who recorded the highest BAC of the sweep at 0.24, three times the legal limit of 0.08.
According to police, a man arrested by the Watervliet Police Department gave police officers a false name to attempt to conceal his true identity and a previous DWI conviction. When the man was fingerprinted the results confirmed his true identity. Due to his attempt to deceive the police he was charged with a felony DWI, and criminal impersonation.
In addition to the arrests police issued 568 summonses, counted a total of 44 designated drivers, and arrested 30 people for aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle.
I anticipated it being up around 25 to 30 arrests [for DWI], said Staff Stg. Lenny Crouch, Administrator of the Albany County Stop-DWI Program. He said it is sad that the amount of people that will be caught drinking and driving is so predictable
Crouch said the number of people found to be operating vehicles without a license has increased dramatically because of new license plate readers used by police. He said that the DMV flags vehicles owned by people who have had their license revoked and the readers make it easier for police to spot offenders.
"It's a great help in cleaning up the highways," said Crouch.
Crouch said there were some positive signs resulting from the sweep. "The average BAC has gone down a point," said Crouch. He said that shows that people are attempting to keep better tabs on the amount they are drinking.
He also said that the amount of designated drivers has gone up to 44 from about 35 during last years sweep.
Crouch said the positive signs can be attributed to a more aggressive advertising campaign by the program leading to an increase in public awareness.
The next DWI blanket patrol is scheduled for St. Patrick's Day.