Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

DWI Patrols Become Holiday Tradition

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

DWI Patrols Become Holiday Tradition

Article excerpt

In Englewood, a driver parked his car -- and got it stuck -- on a pedestrian bridge in Mackay Park Friday morning. Hours earlier, in Teaneck, a vehicle hit a Route 4 median and then struck several parked cars before the driver decided to get out and walk home.

With the holiday spirit in the air, police officers across North Jersey have been on high alert for drunken drivers from Thanksgiving through New Year's, often using extra funds from the nationwide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign to set up checkpoints and work overtime.

And while there were more than a half-dozen arrests for driving under the influence as the new year began, several police departments -- Garfield, Paramus, the Palisades Interstate Parkway and the Passaic County Sheriff's Office -- reported that they did not arrest a single person for drunken driving overnight.

"The Sheriff's Office had several patrols throughout Passaic County looking for individuals who were driving in an aggressive manner or under the influence of alcohol," Passaic County Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik said in a statement. "On New Year's Eve, no DWI arrests were made, which we consider a positive development and hopefully a sign that the significant amount [of] law enforcement deployed on [the] road was [a] factor in individuals deciding to use good judgment and not drive under the influence of alcohol."

Timothy Franco, a retired Fair Lawn cop who is the president of the New Jersey Police Traffic Officers Association, said merrymakers are using designated drivers, cabs and Uber, the online car sharing service, to avoid getting into trouble with the law.

"But there's always folks that are going to be out there drinking and driving," Franco said.

And there were some examples of that as 2016 began.

Englewood officers pulled over a 24-year-old North Bergen man around 4:15 a.m. on a traffic stop and arrested him on a drunken- driving charge, police said. Five hours later, a city resident called to report that a car was wedged onto a pedestrian bridge in Mackay Park. …

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