WILMINGTON — Two roadside checkpoints over Saint Patrick’s Day weekend, manned by officers from 13 law enforcement agencies, resulted in a total of 5 charges for driving while impaired.
On Friday night, the New Hanover Sheriff’s Office (NHSO) hosted a “checking station” alongside officers from 11 local and statewide law enforcement agencies, according to NHSO spokesperson Lieutenant Jerry Brewer.
According to Brewer, 33 officers were on-site at 3299 Randall Parkway, just east of Flying Machine Brewing Company. One DWI arrest was made along with one open container violation.
In total, four physical arrests were made and a total of 47 charges were issued at the checkpoint, according to Brewer, including 24 license violations, four misdemeanor narcotics violations, one narcotics felony, and three fugitive warrants. The arrests were made for the fugitive warrants, narcotics felony, and DWI, Brewer said.
The NHCSO hosted the multi-agency checking station as part of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program. Brewer said participating officers included those from various local, regional, and statewide law enforcement offices, including officers from Brunswick and Pender counties, Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Leland, Lumberton, Jacksonville, UNCW Police, and the N.C. State Highway Patrol (NCSHP).
Brewer said that although state law requires only two officers to run a checking station, the number of officers on-site Friday night was required to safely stop vehicles on the high-traffic Randall Parkway, to escort vehicles through the roadblock, and to escort individuals to the magistrate.
He said the low number of alcohol-related driving charges was a product of the public’s increasing reliance on ride-sharing services like Uber, and the 47 total charges that resulted from the roadblock – including three fugitive warrants and one narcotics felony – pointed to a successful overall operation. According to Brewer, six people working the station were volunteers with the NHCSO’s VIPR unit.
Brewer said the Wilmington Police Department (WPD) hosted a roadside checkpoint Saturday night on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.
According to WPD spokesperson Jennifer Dandron, Saturday’s checkpoint resulted in a total of 41 charges, including 4 DWIs and 3 warrants served. The remaining offenses included charges for driving without a license, expired registrations, and seatbelt violations, among others.
According to a March 16 Facebook post by the WPD, last year the department arrested eight people for DUIs during Saint Patrick’s Day weekend. The state of North Carolina does not make a distinction between a DWI and DUI.
“If you drive drunk, you won’t be lucky and get out of it. You will be charged,” the social media message stated.
Dandron said the station was operated by law enforcement officers from Jacksonville, Leland, Onslow and Brunswick counties, UNCW Police, NHSO, and NCSHP, and WPD.
Mark Darrough can be reached at Mark@Localvoicemedia.com