Officers step up enforcement for holiday


Friday, December 31st 2004, 1:28 pm
By: News On 6


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Law enforcement agencies stepped up traffic enforcement for the New Year's holiday, with special attention focused on drunken drivers.

``There are so many celebrations and parties that involve alcohol so the prevalence of DUI offenses is greater because of that,'' Oklahoma City police Sgt. Charles Phillips said.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County and other local law enforcement agencies were putting extra officers on patrol looking exclusively for drunken drivers. Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers also were targeting drunken drivers.

In Tulsa, police were planning to focus on places where a number of bars and clubs are located, Tulsa Police Officer Craig Murray said.

``We are just going to have the regular complement of officers working New Year's Eve. We are not going to do sobriety checkpoints, but we will be out enforcing liquor laws,'' Murray said.

Through Dec. 30, 752 traffic fatalities occurred in Oklahoma, compared to 671 last year, OHP Lt. Brandon Kopepasah. He believes that more multiple-fatality crashes have occurred this year.

``The number of crashes has not really spiked, but I believe we are seeing an increase in the multiple-fatalities crashes,'' he said. ``Many of them involve large vehicles and SUVs.''

The 2003 fatality total was a low number compared to previous years, and ``it is hard to get a good comparison with that number,'' Kopepasah said.

Through Dec. 17, 156 of this year's traffic deaths were drug- or alcohol-related.

A 47-year-old Ponca City man was struck by a van and killed Thursday night as he walked on State Highway 177 in Kay County. Jacob Donald Roughface was thrown 150 feet from the point of impact. An odor of alcohol was detected on him, the OHP reported.