The holidays are a time to eat, drink and be merry. Police say that’s fine as long as the drinking does not involve driving.
Law enforcement officers in Medina County were out to combat holiday-impaired driving between Dec. 20 and Wednesday, and they took more than 50 suspected drunken drivers off the roads.
Ohio Highway Patrol troopers charged 20 drivers with operating vehicle impaired during that span — compared to 13 during the same time last year.
One OVI driver had a loaded semi-automatic handgun and was charged with a felony for having a weapon under the influence.
“The holidays have been proven to be one of the most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving,” said Lt. Bill Haymaker, commander of the patrol’s Medina post. “We put more officers on the road from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. on the weekends and on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.”
Statewide, the patrol handled 241 OVI stops over the holiday period. There were 54 alcohol-related crashes with injuries, including one fatal crash.
In addition to the patrol arrests, local police also were busy:
• The Medina County OVI Task Force reported three OVI arrests over the holidays, including two in Wadsworth and one in Brunswick. A Wadsworth police officer who is a member of the task force is credited with one of the Wadsworth arrests.
• Wadsworth police made four other OVI arrests and a Wadsworth police officer assisted in another OVI arrest in Seville while transporting a prisoner.
• Brunswick police caught five drunken drivers on their streets.
• Medina police arrested six suspected drunken drivers and Medina Township police arrested two.
• Montville police arrested six suspected drunken drivers and Lodi police made one OVI arrest.
• Hinckley police reported a total of four OVI arrests in the month of December.
• The Medina County Sheriff’s Office which serves most of the county’s townships and villages, did not make any OVI arrests during that time, though several sheriff’s deputies serve on the OVI Task Force.
Police encourage drivers to dial #677 on their mobile phones to report dangerous or impaired drivers and drug violations.
Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or email@example.com.