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Sonoma County CHP ramps up holiday DUI patrols

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The CHP wants holiday partiers to be warned more officers will be on patrol looking for intoxicated drivers starting this weekend through Christmas Day.

Aiming at curbing the number of deaths caused by drunken motorists, the CHP each year launches a “maximum enforcement period” around the Christmas holiday, putting more officers on state roadways to look for dangerous driving, including speeding and impairment. It started Saturday and ends midnight Tuesday.

Santa Rosa-area Sgt. Josh Kolstad said officers in 2017 responded to three crashes involving suspected drunken drivers in the district, which includes most of Sonoma County. Nobody died in those crashes. Kolstad said those numbers don’t include two fatal crashes around that period — Dec. 20 and Jan. 3 — that involved intoxicated drivers.

Statewide, 16 people died on state roadways during the days leading up to Christmas in 2017, and of those, 12 were not wearing seatbelts, according to the CHP. Three pedestrians and one motorcyclist also were killed.

CHP officers arrested 917 people statewide on suspicion of DUI-related charges. Local statistics on DUI arrests weren’t immediately available Saturday.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @jjpressdem.

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