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Holiday Crackdown Nets 725 DUI Arrests in Riverside County

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A roughly three-week law enforcement campaign targeting drunk and drug-impaired drivers netted 725 arrests in Riverside County, about 4 percent less than last year, authorities announced Thursday.

The Riverside County Avoid the 30 task force - named for the number of participating agencies - concluded its end-of-year anti-DUI operations at 12:01 Jan. 2. The campaign, which began Dec. 13, involved saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints in numerous locations, including Beaumont, Corona, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Lake Elsinore, Murrieta and Temecula.

The 725 DUI arrests compare to 758 during the same period in 2012, according to Riverside police Sgt. Skip Showalter, the Avoid spokesman.

There were two DUI-related fatal collisions between Dec. 13 and Dec. 26, including a rear-end crash that killed a motorcyclist on the Riverside (91) Freeway, Showalter said.

The other fatality occurred when a woman drove onto Interstate 215 in Moreno Valley going in the wrong direction and caused a head-on crash that fatally injured the other driver.

The suspect in the latter collision, Patricia Starr, remains hospitalized with serious injuries. Monique Johnson, the woman suspected of killing the motorcyclist, is free on a $75,000 bond.

The Avoid effort was part of the nationwide "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and coincided with the California Highway Patrol's "maximum enforcement"
operations conducted during Christmas and New Year's.

Showalter said additional Avoid campaigns are scheduled on Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patrick's Day and Memorial Day weekend.

Reported by City News Service in Riverside

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