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CHP removes 30 suspected DUI drivers from Sonoma County roads over Memorial Day weekend

Sonoma County CHP officers took 30 suspected DUI drivers off the road over the long Memorial Day weekend, a large increase over last year’s numbers.

From 6 p.m. Friday until midnight Monday, the CHP arrested 30 drivers considered too impaired to be behind the wheel, Officer David deRutte said. Another 325 citations were issued for various other driving infractions, including speeding and reckless driving.

The citations were part of a 78-hour “maximum enforcement period” in which the CHP blanketed the area to be visible and make stops for safety or road violations.

Friday evening, one man was arrested for reckless driving and was also found with a gun and several bags of marijuana in his vehicle, the CHP said. He was booked on felony charges.

Officers investigated 24 crashes over the long weekend.

The number of DUIs was concerning, deRutte said.

“It’s a lot of DUI arrests for a three-day period,” he said. “It’s good to get those DUI drivers off the road but also bad news that so many people made the unsafe choice to drive.”

In 2019, the CHP conducted a special enforcement operation with Santa Rosa police over the holiday weekend, mostly focusing on illegally modified vehicles. In that operation, only four DUI drivers were arrested, two from each agency. Another 44 drivers were cited for speeding and illegal changes to their cars.

The years aren’t exactly comparable for several reasons, including the stay-at-home order in effect and the differences in the special enforcement periods’ focus this year and last.

Better news this year: the CHP had no fatal crashes on Sonoma County highways. Last year, one person died and another was seriously injured in separate crashes over the long weekend, according to Press Democrat records. The fatality was in Mendocino County and the injury crash on the coast near Gualala.

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