Police crack down on drunk driving
by Allison Haver
About 30 officers gathered Thursday night for a multi-department driving while impaired checkpoint in downtown Boone.
The checkpoint was located beside First Baptist Church on East King Street at College Street and took place from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
"We want to let people know that we are out there," Sgt. Shane Robbins with the Boone Police Department said. "We are looking out for driving while impaired."
While Boone Police was in charge of the checkpoint, officers from the Watauga County Sheriff's Office, Appalachian State University Police Department, Blowing Rock Police Department and N.C. Highway Patrol were also present.
According to Robbins, local law enforcement plans to increase the number of DWI checkpoints in Boone, and in Watauga County.
The locations of each checkpoint will be determined by research from statistical data showing where more traffic incidents, including wrecks, complaints, and drunk driving, are more prevalent.
"We try to look back statistically," he said. "If we have alcohol involved crashes we go back and look to where and when it happened and that is when we step up our law enforcement."
Lt. Donnie Goodman with the Boone Police Department said that the safety of the officers, motorists and the public are also taken into consideration.
One of the state's DWI buses, dubbed the BATmobile, was also apart of the checkpoint and had a spot for the magistrate available.
The bus, driven by Chad Towery, is assigned to the area west of I-77 and is based in Asheville.
According to Goodman, citizens of Watauga County will see more of the BATmobile, as it will be present during future checkpoints.
"We are going to try to have it up here at least once a month" Goodman said.
Members of the Western Youth Network and Mothers Against Drunk Driving were also present and provided refreshments for the officers involved in the checkpoint.
Officials said they plan to release information about Thursday's DWI checkpoint on Monday.