Authorities arrested 28 people on suspicion of driving under the influence over the weekend as part of an 18-day enforcement campaign throughout Stanislaus County that ends on Labor Day.
Last year, 42 people were arrested on suspicion of DUI during the first three nights of the end of summer “Avoid the 12” campaign, which is a reference to the 12 law enforcement agencies in the county.
The campaign continues Friday night with saturation patrols in Modesto and Ceres. The patrols are made up of officers assigned solely to look for impaired drivers.
Ceres police Sgt. Chris Perry said eight other people were arrested on DUI warrants over the weekend. No DUI-related deaths were reported. The enforcement, which is coordinated by Ceres police, is funded by a grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety.
Modesto police saturation patrol officers responded to a report of a passed-out driver in a vehicle at a Jack in the Box about 10:30 p.m. Sunday. Perry said the officers arrived at the fast-food restaurant in the 1200 block of Yosemite Boulevard and found the driver, who appeared to be intoxicated.
The officers removed the driver, 24-year-old Garrett Hansen, from the vehicle. Hansen later was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Perry said the officers searched the vehicle and found a loaded .38 caliber handgun and three hunting rifles.
At a sobriety checkpoint in Riverbank on Saturday night, deputies arrested Dionne Lemmus on suspicion of driving with a blood alcohol content that was nearly twice the legal limit, Perry said. A passenger in the vehicle also was heavily intoxicated, he said, and there was a teenager in the back seat.
Perry said the deputies at the checkpoint arrested another driver, Nickolas Gulley, because he had no driver’s license and had felony arrest warrants. The deputies found an illegal weapon and what appeared to be burglary tools and items associated with graffiti vandalism inside the vehicle, Perry said.
There are a dozen more operations scheduled through Labor Day weekend. Authorities are asking residents to report drunken drivers by calling 911.
“Driving drunk is totally inexcusable,” Acting Ceres Police Chief Brent Smith said in a news release. “We’re hoping that Stanislaus County drivers get the message and take some simple steps to prevent a tragedy. There’s always another way home.”