Police stay up late looking for drunk drivers

Police stay up late looking for drunk drivers

By Chris Lovingood

July 7, 2014 Updated Jul 7, 2014 at 10:56 AM CDT

The 4th of July weekend can give people the idea to drink a little too much, but it's this very reason the police were on the lookout.

Tazewell County officers performed close to 300 roadside safety checks on Illinois Route 116 late Saturday night into Sunday.

It was part of an effort to get drivers under the influence off the road.

Some who were pulled over say they're glad this sort of thing goes on.

"I think it's a good idea," said Danielle Rodier. "They can definitely, probably get people off the roads that shouldn't be on the roads."

"It's great they perform these," said Becky Gropp. "I think it keeps everybody safe, especially on these holidays when everyone is celebrating."

For a couple of people stopped, it was their first safety check. But others were used to it.

"I've been through roadchecks before," said Ryan Staley. "I mean there's nothing to be nervous about if there's anything wrong, you know?"

According to police, the checks are typically performed around the holiday season.

Officers say they try to stop as many cars as they can to perform the check.

But one man felt a bit uneasy with how the checks were handled.

"I don't really like how they be doing it because they let a bunch of cars go past us," said Dre Douglas. "They just stopped us out of nowhere. I don't really appreciate that."

However, one officer says there's good reason for letting so many people pass.

"If it gets backed up and becomes unsafe," said Sergeant Bradley Potts, "then either myself or the other sergeant that is on scene will make a command decision to let some traffic through to reduce the backlog so that it's safer."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thousands of people die each year in car crashes where alcohol is involved.

And police say they hope performing their safety checks can bring those numbers down.

Two arrests were made, including a warrant arrest. And two DUIs as well as five no insurance citations were given.

Police say they spent on average a minute on checks insuring roads were free of those under the influence.