Sep 042003
 
Authors: Jesse McClain

The city never sleeps for Larimer County Sheriff Deputy Ted Wilson, who is in charge of Larimer County’s driving under the influence patrol.

“We don’t mess around, Larimer County isn’t the place to try to get away with this stuff,” Wilson said.

With Friday and Saturday nights producing 20 of the weekend’s total 27 DUI arrests, officers were kept busy searching for intoxicated drivers.

“You have to hunt for these people. Very seldom do they just fall in your lap.” Wilson said.

Over the four-day Labor Day weekend Larimer County Deputy Sheriff Ryan Alberts thought his Saturday night shift from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. might produce fewer DUI arrests than usual due to the volatile weather conditions.

“It’s hard to find reasons to pull someone over when it’s snowing, raining or really windy because people don’t drive the best under those circumstances anyway.” Alberts said.

Contrary to popular belief officers do not just pull anyone over without reason.

“You have to have a reason to pull someone over. For credibility reasons in court and just for moral reasons,” Alberts said. “Everyone just assumes you’re out to get them.”

While beginning his evening, Alberts witnessed his first hit-and-run accident. A driver hit a woman who was walking down the center of the street and fled the scene shortly after the accident. The woman was taken to Poudre Valley Hospital for head and leg injuries.

“She was walking down the middle of the street,” Alberts said. “It was her fault, but the driver, who was probably intoxicated, left the scene so now the driver is also in trouble.”

Alberts immediately left the scene to assist another officer on a DUI arrest.

“Usually another officer will follow up on a DUI call for roadsides,” he said. “Just because drunks don’t tend to be that happy.”

The offender blew a .098 blood alcohol content and accordingly received a driving while ability impaired charge.

Even though a driver may be committing a minor traffic violation they may get pulled over and not be cited for the violation.

“Unless they are a danger to themselves or society, I’m not likely to issue a ticket at night,” Alberts said. “During the day when I am working traffic I will ticket them but not usually at night.”

Alberts ended his Saturday shift with an arrest resulting from a parole violation. The offender had to be taken to the Larimer County Detention Center, 2405 Midpoint Dr., for booking.

Both Alberts and Wilson spend time around Overland Trail when searching for DUI arrests.

“This is one of the best streets for DUIs, but we know they’re taking the side streets too. There’s nowhere to hide,” Wilson said.

It is not just students who are at risk for DUIs,

“Its anywhere from 16-year-old kids to 55-year-olds. You don’t see to many senior citizens. Most range between 20 and 30. However the term dumb, young males does apply. You never think your car is gonna crash,” Wilson said

So far this year Larimer County has arrested 764 DUI offenders, compared to 930 for the entire year of 2002.

“There’s no safe haven in Larimer County for drunk drivers,” Wilson said.

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