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Local law enforcement team up against drunk, reckless drivers during holidays

December 28, 2018

In an effort to keep the Houston area safe during the holidays, local law enforcement launched a multi-phase crime initiative in December that resulted in the arrest of several individuals.

The Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office has partnered with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office to increase coverage and enforcement, said Pct. 4 Constable Mark Herman.

Deputies plan on continuing into phase 2 of their holiday patrol initiative for the new year, focusing on driving while intoxicated, speeding and other vehicular violations. Officials declined to give a detailed timeline of implementation for phase 2 to avoid compromising the operation.

During a press conference on Dec. 28, Herman and Chief Edison Toquica with Harris County Sheriff’s Office said the holidays see a sharp increase in certain types of crime, including driving under the influence.

Herman said more than 100 arrests were made during this time in 2017.

“These increased law enforcement patrols have incorporated a pro-active police approach during this busy time of the year to keep our citizens and their family’s safe,” Herman said.

As of Dec. 26, 2018, Harris County Constable and Sheriff deputies reported 37 suspected drunk drivers, including 31-year-old Franklyn Perez who was arrested on the Northwest Freeway after allegedly failing a sobriety test during a traffic stop. Perez was arrested and booked for driving while intoxicated with a bond set at $500.

“Constable and Sheriff Deputies will be out in full force to locate and arrest motorists who have made the choice to get behind the wheel while intoxicated or under the influence of any illegal substance,” Herman said.

In cases of drunk driving, Herman said both the driver, as well as the establishment from which they left, may be subject to charges.

“We’re going to be trying to find out where they came from, what bar, and we’ll be collaborating and working our investigation through our district attorney’s office to file charges if we’re able to,” Herman said.

Officers recommend finding a designated sober driver, or calling a ridesharing service if out celebrating. Officers also suggest taking away the keys of a friend attempting to drive under the influence. To report drunk and reckless driving, Herman said drivers should call local authorities and follow the driver from a safe distance until authorities arrive.

Herman and Toquica said their offices received grants through the Texas Department of Transportation to pay deputies for overtime during the holiday crime initiative.

The Pct. 4 Constable’s Office reported several arrests throughout December.

On Dec. 23, Jared Ware, 33, was arrested for alleged unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and evading police in a motor vehicle on the 14100 block of Mueschke Road. Precinct 4 Constable’s Office booked Ware for the incident with a total bond of $11,500.

“The driver reached speeds of 100 mph and evaded for over nine miles before Constable deputies were able to bring the pursuit to an end safely in the 17900 block of FM 2920 Road,” Herman said.

Pct. 4 deputies conducted an anti-street racing initiative around Harris County Pct. 4, in order to stop reckless drivers on the road. Previously, deputies arrested three individuals and issued 45 citations. Herman said deputies will continue to practice this initiative.

“We have a couple more big initiatives that are upcoming where we’re going to merge with the Sheriff’s Office and (TxDOT) in different areas in the county,” Herman said. “We’re going to fix the street racing problem because it endangers lives of innocent people and the street racers.”

chevall.pryce@chron.com

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