HOUSTON (CBS Houston) In their most recent efforts to eradicate drunk driving and driving while under the influence, officials from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office are calling their latest “DWI Crackdown” a true success.
“DWI charges against 22 people are among the results of a Harris County Sheriff’s Office’s anti-DWI initiative during the three-day Memorial Day weekend a few days after a drunk driver caused the death of an HCSO sergeant,” stated officials from the HCSO.
“The crackdown also led to one charge of driving while under the influence of drugs, six charges of possession of a controlled substance, two charges of evading arrest, 71 traffic citations, the serving of 16 criminal warrants and the seizure of a vehicle, 18 grams of cocaine and $3,000 in cash.”
Officials also stated that two traffic fatalities related to drunk driving took place in the unincorporated areas of the county, over the long weekend and are under investigation by deputies. An additional alcohol-related accident led to severe injuries to a passenger who was treated within the intensive care unit at Ben Taub Hospital.
“The passenger was in a vehicle driven by HCSO part-time detention officer Jonathan J. Carona, 19. Carona’s SUV collided with another vehicle Sunday morning at Aldine Bender Road and Hardy Road. Carona and the other driver told deputies they had been drinking alcohol. Both were taken to the hospital for treatment. Charges are pending in that incident. Carona, who started part-time work at the Harris County jail in mid-January, has been suspended while his employment status is reviewed,” added authorities with the HCSO.
The HCSO is still reeling with the death of Sheriff’s Sgt. Dwayne Polk who was killed in a crash in northwest Houston early on May 19. His death served as a poignant reminder to those within the Harris County Sheriff’s Office about the dangers of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of chemicals, substances and/or alcohol. On May 24 at the intersection where Sgt. Polk lost his life, Sheriff Adrian Garcia spoke to the public and warned people who drink and drive about the fact that the Harris County Sheriff’s Office has a “zero tolerance” for those who choose to operate a car under the influence of any chemical or substance:
“We hope you cry when you realize you are under arrest as families cry when they hear the news of their loved one being stolen from them because of a drunk driver like some of you,” Sheriff Garcia said. “All of this can be avoided if you just recognize that driving is privilege, not a right, and drunk driving is not. Drunk driving is against the law and we’re here to demonstrate to you that we are ready to bring down the full measure of the law if you decide to break the law. Help us keep other families from being destroyed. Help us prevent that type of tragedy this weekend and every single day.”
Sheriff Garcia went on to thank local media outlets for extending HCSO’s message that not only is drunk driving a hazard, but drunk boating is just as dangerous as drunk driving: “The media are our partners in making roadways and neighborhoods safer,” the sheriff said. “But we still have lots of work to do to make Harris County safe from the horrible mix of alcohol and driving”, added Sheriff Garcia.