The California Highway Patrol conducted its first DUI checkpoint in Contra Costa County since one of its own officers was killed on a highway by a driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
After the death of Officer Andrew Camilleri on Christmas Eve, the CHP's maximum enforcement period has become personal. In just two days, they will bury one of their own. On Thursday night, they were working to prevent any impaired drivers from causing the same type of crash that killed their comrade.
"We had no trouble getting officers to get out there to enforce DUI, and I’m sure the loss of Officer Camilleri is on their minds," CHP spokesman Nathan Johnson said.
Camilleri, less than a year on the job, was killed late Christmas Eve when a speeding vehicle slammed into the rear of his patrol vehicle on Interstate 880 in Hayward. His assignment that night was to look out for drunk drivers.
During the maximum enforcement period, Dec. 22-26, more than 900 DUI arrests have been made, the CHP said. That's up from 621 during the same time span a year ago. The number of deadly crashes is down year over year, the CHP said.
But now, officers are looking out for more than just alcohol.
"When I started, it was a lot more alcohol," Johnson said. "Now we are seeing people abusing prescription medication and people using marijuana and not realizing it does impair their driving."
One driver said there are no excuses for people to drink or do drugs and drive.
"Especially with Uber and Lyft, it should be on people’s minds that there are other ways people can get to where they are going," motorist Sid Hubbs said.
The checkpoint in Contra Costa County was to remain in effect until 3 a.m. Friday.