The Mesa Police Department carried out their yearly Memorial Day DUI checkpoint close to the Salt River which led to more than 20 DUI arrests for the holiday, and a solid message from law enforcement that driving under the influence of alcohol won’t go on without serious consequences.
Cars were moved back for at least a mile near Thomas and Power roads, as police talked to drivers.
They either gave them a brochure or if the driver showed signs of being drunk, he or she would have to take a field sobriety test.
“It was fine,” said driver Virginia Felder. “They’re just doing their jobs.”
Felder was one of the numerous drivers who had to take the test.
“I blew a zero, zero,” Felder said. “So I’m good.”
Drivers took the eye test, do the heel to toe walk and have to raise one leg.
Those who didn’t pass the test ended up in handcuffs and arrested.
“Unfortunately, it no longer surprises me,” said Sgt. Joe Meacham with Mesa police.
Several other Valley agencies joined the Mesa police, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Tempe police, and the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, for the checkpoint they’ve been setting up for the last 20 years.
And officers say they hear all manner of excuses.
“They’ll try to tell us they only had two drinks, or they will tell us their drinks were three or four hours ago,” Meacham said. “They try to downplay what’s happening, hoping we let them go.”
Alejandro Yescas was returning from a long day of floating the river with friends when he was pulled over.
“I really appreciated that they are looking out for people,” Yescas said.
Yescas confessed to drinking hours before the checkpoint.
“Couple hours, way, way back,” Yescas said. “And with the timing here, totally sober. And as you can see, passed the test.”
According to Law enforcement officials, it’s not about the number of arrests, it’s about reducing the amount people making bad decisions.
“Don’t forget my slogan, ‘Drive hammered, get nailed,'” said Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Alberto Gutier. “But besides that, it’s getting a message to these people. They will pass it along to their friends.”
As indicated by the Mesa police, this is one of the largest turnouts from law enforcement for the annual DUI checkpoint. They had 60 officers and lot of volunteers.