Garden Grove Police Department has been holding checkpoints and extra patrols that continue through Labor Day weekend and are aimed at getting drivers under the influence off its streets. But it was a suspected drunken driver who came to Officer Jared Doyle early Sunday morning, as in a head-on collision that sent both to the hospital.
Something to keep in mind as Garden Grove, Newport Beach and San Clemente have sobriety checkpoints tonight, and saturation patrols continue throughout the region courtesy of the Orange County Avoid DUI Task Force's “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign that runs through Labor Day, one of the bloodiest times on local roads.
Oh, Officer Doyle and the other driver, Berlimo Alexander Lopez, 21, of Stanton, survived, although both required treatment at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange.
Doyle was on patrol in his marked police car, which was heading north on Knott Street around 3:40 a.m. Sunday, when a vehicle heading the opposite direction crossed over into the cop's lane, according to Garden Grove Police Sgt. Phil Schmidt.
The officer tried to avoid the crash near Stanford Avenue, but the other vehicle still clipped the cop car, causing moderate damage to both rides.
“The driver of the vehicle displayed objective symptoms of being under the influence
of an alcoholic beverage,” Schmidt said of Lopez, who was slapped with felony DUI and driving without a license charges.
So expect Garden Grove cops to be extra vigilant during the checkpoint that will be up somewhere in the city from 8 tonight through 1 a.m. Saturday. Newport Beach's checkpoint begins at the same time but runs through 2 a.m. The Orange County Sheriff's Department says it will have one up tonight in San Clemente. None of the departments disclosed the locations.
Orange County Avoid DUI Task Force, which is mounting the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign in partnership with California's Office of Traffic Safety, previously announced Sept. 4 checkpoints in Tustin, Fullerton, La Habra and Santa Ana.
Meanwhile, there are “saturation patrols,” where officers are specially assigned to cruise for DUI drivers, tonight in Orange and all weekend in Fullerton, Costa Mesa and Garden Grove. More are planned Sept. 3-5 in Costa Mesa, Sept. 4 in Anaheim, Sept. 5-6 in Santa Ana, Sept. 5-7 in Fullerton and every weekend through Sept. 7 in Garden Grove.
The sheriff's department says it will throw up spot checkpoints and run saturation patrols in its contract cities through Labor Day as well.
These operations are funded through grants to all the agencies from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.