Police warn of high volume of DUI cases during holiday weekend
WISE COUNTY, Va. - Labor Day weekend often means the last of summer celebrations with family and local police are stepping up patrols to help make sure those gatherings stay safe. News 5 found out the risk of drunk driving is high this weekend. Additionally, in Wise County, there is heightened concern about both drunk and drugged driving. "Labor Day is typically a highly traveled weekend because a lot of people have a holiday weekend and it's the last holiday of the summer," Wise County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Teresa Meade said. With increased traffic on the highways, police plan to be visible with stops and saturation patrols. "It's to keep the highways safe. It's not just about writing tickets. It's about saving lives and protecting people on the roadway," Kentucky State Police Capt. Jennifer Sandlin said. In 2015, there were 460 fatalities during the holiday weekend nationwide. More than half involved drivers who were over the legal limit for alcohol. "We want to curb that as much as we can and keep our highways safe for everybody: my family, your family, and anyone on the road," Wise County Assistant Sheriff Col. Grant Kilgore said. Wise County Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said the drunk driving court docket is filling up more and more with drugged driving cases. Slemp said, "Most folks assume if a doctor prescribes a drug that it's okay to take and that and drive, but that's not always the case." Safety officers remind drivers to drive safely, wear a seatbelt, not drive drugged or after drinking. Agencies across the region are using grant money to support the checkpoints and extra patrols.