Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

December 13, 2013

MWPD deals with public intoxication arrests

DPS warns against DWI during holiday season


Mineral Wells Index

— By CLINT FOSTER



The Mineral Wells Police Department arrested multiple individuals for public intoxication over the icy weekend, some of which were in connection with car accidents.

One notable incident saw a MWPD officer respond to a motor assist call and end up cuffing an individual for public intoxication and resisting arrest, search or transport.

Just before 4 p.m. on Dec. 7, police said officer Brad Chane drove to the 1000 block of North Oak Avenue to help a man whose car had broken down in the frigid weather. According to the MWPD case narrative, Chane met Donny Ray Smith upon arrival, who was standing by the edge of the street next to a gold BMW that was not running.

Police said Smith’s speech was slurred and he struggled to keep his balance as Chane asked him some general questions.

MWPD said Smith began to get aggressive, leading police to believe he was a danger to himself and others, so Chane arrested him for public intoxication and put him in the back seat of his patrol car.

While in the back seat, police said Smith managed to move his cuffed hands from behind his back to the front of his body and then started banging on the plexiglass  in the back of the car. Police said he also was kicking the side windows, but did not cause any damage.

Chane and another officer took Smith out of the car and redid his handcuffs, but once back in the patrol car, Smith did the same thing again, leading the officers to wrestle him to the ground and reapply the cuffs a second time before transporting him to the police department.

Although Smith was arrested for public intoxication, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is something law enforcement officer are always on the lookout for, especially with potentially icy road conditions during the Holiday season, to protect both drivers and everyone else on the road. As such, the Texas Department of Public Safety has announced it will increase state-wide patrols for a 21-day period from today until Jan. 2, looking specifically for individuals who are driving while intoxicated.

According to a DPS press release, this period of time including Christmas and New Years Eve is one of the most “high-risk” times for frequent alcohol-related crashes every year.

“Historically, the holiday season brings an increased potential for drinking and driving incidents, and these enhanced DPS patrols will help save lives,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said. “Impaired driving can easily turn a holiday celebration into a tragic situation.

By designating a sober driver or finding alternative transportation if drinking alcohol is expected, Texans can do their part in keeping our roadways safe and making the holidays memorable for the right reasons.”

Statistics included in the release said during last year’s Christmas/New Year enforcement effort, DPS troopers made more than 1,200 DWI arrests and issued more than 17,600 speeding tickets and another 2,000 tickets for seat belt or child safety citations. Troopers also arrested 258 fugitives and 211 felons during this same time because of increased patrols.

DPS Senior Trooper and public information officer Gary M. Rozzell could not be reached for local statistics.

MWPD Lt. Randy Wright said it is important that people remember never to drink and drive, even if they are below the legal limit for alcohol consumption. Wright cited the Texas Penal Code adding that a person’s blood-alcohol level does not have to necessarily be 0.08 for them to be arrested for driving while intoxicated.

The DPS offered the following additional tips for safe travel during the holidays:

Don’t drink and drive. Designate a driver or take a cab. Eliminate distractions, including the use of mobile devices.

Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law.

Slow down – especially in bad weather, construction areas and heavy traffic.

Slow down or move over for police, fire, EMS and Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks that are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated – it’s the law.

Don’t drive fatigued.

Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.

Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before your trip begins.