San Diego DUI cops are the cats, the hunters. San Diego DUI drivers are the mice, the hunted, San Diego DUI lawyers warn.
The cats who catch the most mice win the Annual MADD Most-DUI arrests Award, San Diego DUI attorneys emphasize.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, top San Diego DUI Deputy Kristy Drilling was hunting for DUI drivers again Friday night on the streets of San Marcos.
“It’s a game of cat and mouse,” Drilling said. “I’m the cat. I’m the hunter.”
She’s successful in her hunting, making 101 San Diego DUI arrests last year, winning a Mothers Against Drunk Driving Award for the third year in a row.
How does this San Diego DUI arrest hunter do it?
“There’s the smell and the red, watery eyes, sometimes slurred speech or they’ll fumble around trying to show me their ID. Lot’s of times I’ll ask to see their ID and they’ll hand their credit card to me. Sometimes I’ll tell them to put their car in park and they’ll start rolling down the road with me yelling at them to put on the brake.”
She was on a San Diego DUI saturation patrol of one. Working an overtime shift paid for by a California state grant designed to go after drunk drivers, she pulled over one car after another all night long.
Between 7 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. Friday she pulled over more than a dozen drivers for having expired license plate registration tags, for having license plate lights that weren’t working, for stopping beyond the line at a traffic signal, or for making an illegal U-turn.
It’s a scene repeated all over the North San Diego County every night as law enforcement attacks the problem, which is rampant.
“It’s amazing how many drunk drivers are on the road,” Drilling said. Late at night, “if you stop every single person either they’ve been drinking or they’re drunk.”
It was just getting dark Friday when Drilling started driving, her head appearing to be on a swivel as she scanned the road ahead and the parking lots to the side for signs of inebriation.
“Basically I’ll see signs of a San Diego drunk driver,” she said. “It could be swerving into other lanes. It could be weaving back and forth in the lane they’re in. Maybe they’re driving fast and slowing down, alternating speeds. They could be driving without headlights, that’s a good clue. There are a lot of things.”
Across the North County, San Diego DUI police, highway patrol officers and deputies are looking for impaired drivers.
Late last year the “Avoid the 8 on 78” task force was formed, bringing together eight different North San Diego County law enforcement agencies committed to enhanced DUI enforcement and education in a push aimed at drivers in the cities along the state Route 78 corridor.
Combining forces, the task force has conducted a number of San Diego DUI checkpoints across the region, participated in joint saturation patrols, and given lectures to schools and other groups about the dangers.
Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter, who hosted the news conference announcing the San Diego DUI task force back in November, said drunk driving has ramifications that go way beyond just someone being arrested, going to jail, and losing their driving privileges.
The crashes that so often result from the drunken driver’s poor choices have many impacts, Carter said.
“It’s a big deal in that usually it’s not just a single victim and single suspect. It involves victims, family members, and has an effect on the San Diego DUI officers.”
Along state Route 78 alone, more than 1,600 people were arrested for San Diego DUI by the California Highway Patrol from 2010 to 2013. During the same time period, 207 impaired drivers caused crashes resulting in injuries.
And that’s not even counting San Diego county city streets.
Friday night, Drilling, a deputy for seven years and the daughter of a retired San Diego police lieutenant and sister of a San Diego police detective, drove up and down San Marcos Boulevard in the Restaurant Row area.
“I’ve contacted so many people it’s obvious when someone is under the influence,” she said.
“I can tell within 30 seconds.”
She claims the San Diego California DUI clues are easy to spot for someone with experience.
Because she was out with the sole purpose of busting San Diego DUI drivers, she let them all go with warnings after evaluating them — all but one. A 20-year-old San Marcos man was written up for driving on a suspended license and driving without his headlights on when, around 11 p.m., he pulled out of a parking lot and headed down San Marcos Boulevard in his black sports car. It wasn’t until Drilling turned her lights on that his were activated.
The San Diego man hadn’t been drinking, but also hadn’t had a valid license for a couple years because of a prior DUI conviction and ensuing court problems. He was allowed to call his parents to come pick him up and drive his car home. They were none too happy with him.
When Drilling is doing her normal San Diego DUI and traffic duties she spends most of her time responding to crashes, but when things are slow, or when she’s doing a special saturation patrol, she focuses on bar parking lots and waits until someone leaves. If she can find a legal reason to pull them over, she does.
“I’m not targeting bars, it’s just that’s more likely where there will be drunks,” she said.
“Sometimes I’ll follow a car from one bar to another bar.”
She said when San Diego bars close she will often have her choice of following dozens of vehicles all leaving at the same time and likely all containing drunk drivers.
She’s had her share of fights. Once her partner accidentally Tased her instead of the drunk she was wrestling with.
“The happy drunks are fun,” she said. “The mean ones are the ones I remember. I’ve been called every name in the book, but I don’t take it personally, they’re mad at the badge, not at me.”
The majority of her San Diego DUI arrests are college men, mainly because she’s a San Marcos deputy where Palomar College and Cal State San Marcos call home.
“Mostly at night coming from parties or leaving bars. San Diego College kids don’t know their limits and they drink a lot.”
She often slowly drives in San Diego county parking lots past crowded bars to let patrons know she is there.
“We’re trying to tell people we’re out here. Get a cab. I’ll follow the really dumb drunks right out the lot. They won’t have their headlights on or they’ll run a red light right in front of me.”
Many times Friday night she would start to watch San Diego drivers get in their cars in front of the bar only to pull back into a parking spot moments later after spotting her in their mirrors. Smart San Diego drivers.
arose out of direct driving into the checkpoint after over 700 were screened. Eighteen San Diego DUI arrests were made at and around this roadblock.