DWI checkpoints catch holiday weekend partiers


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — This Memorial Day weekend local police set up DWI checkpoints throughout Wilmington with the common goal of getting drunk drivers off the roads.

“Memorial Day Weekend, along with any other holidays, are notoriously known for high traffic crashes with injuries, fatalities, impaired driving crashes and that type of thing,” said Cpl. Richard Knopf of the Wilmington Police Department.

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These issues hold special relevance here in Wilmington as DWI rates are very high.

“This area has the third largest DWI arrest rate in the state, behind Mecklenburg County and Wake County comes New Hanover County,” Breath Alcohol Testing Mobile Unit Coordinator Ken Rhodes said.

Saturday there was a checkpoint in Brunswick County, and Sunday there were two set up in New Hanover County. The main location, on Wrightsville Avenue, had the the Breath Alcohol Testing Mobile Unit to assist officers process impaired drivers.

Officials on scene had one common message for holiday drivers.

“We’re not trying to say don’t drink or don’t have a good time, but stay off the road because it effects your ability to operate a motor vehicle,” Rhodes said.

“All we ask is when you go out to party, when you go out to the beach, when you go to a friends house, when you go to your Memorial Day cookout, drink what you want. Drink what’s comfortable for you, but have an alternative plan for getting home,” said Knopf.

In North Carolina alone there are between 60,000 to 70,000 arrests for impaired driving each year.

Results of Sunday’s checkpoint at Wrightsville Avenue:
8 Driving While Impaired
2 Drive after consuming <21 1 Aid and Abet Impaired Driving 6 Open containers 43 No Operators License 10 Suspended License 15 Drug Charges 1 Felony Fugitive arrest