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On The Road

Holiday DUI arrests up from '95

At the half-way point for the Avoid the 13 holiday crackdown on drunk drivers, arrests in Los Altos were already ahead of the entire campaign for 1995.

By Dec. 23, police had snapped the cuffs on 12 in Los Altos for DUI, with 10 more days still to go.

"Last year we had 11 (arrests) for the whole campaign," said Los Altos Police Sgt. John Hughmanick.

This year, "Business is up."

Los Altos police arrested three drunk drivers during the Dec. 20 sobriety check-point that was held at San Antonio Road and Hawthorne Avenue, at the entrance to Plaza South. Arrested were a 20-year-old male, a 37-year-old female and a 45-year-old male.

The next night, Dec. 21, four Los Altos officers patrolled the county as part of the All-County Strike Team.

Hughmanick lead the Los Altos team that included Officers Johnny Slater, Brent Butler and Ron Barfield. Each road with an officer from another agency.

Throughout the county, the strike team of 37 officers from eight agencies arrested 15 for DUI. "It was a nice collective effort," Hughmanick said.

So far during the holiday campaign, Barfield is up to three or four arrests, "a fair amount," Hughmanick said.

Officers who make four or more arrests during the Avoid the 13 are honored at an awards luncheon later in the season.

In Santa Clara County, arrests are up 7 percent this year, said Mountain View Police Chief Mike Maehler, chairman of the Avoid the 13 campaign. And last year's arrests were a four-year high.

Stepped-up enforcement will continue through Wednesday midnight.

For New Year's Eve, "don't even have a single drink and drive," Hughmanick said. "That's the worst night of the year to be out driving."

Instead, he offers these tips:

Use a designated driver;

Stay home;

Call a cab;

Reserve a limousine.

Avoid the 13 is named for the 13 law enforcement agencies that began the program in 1974.

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