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Drunken driving crashes ‘100 percent preventable’

APD officer Simon Drobik and Mayor Richard Berry talk about ways to prevent DWI crashes during the holiday season at a news conference Wednesday morning. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

APD officer Simon Drobik and Mayor Richard Berry talk about ways to prevent DWI crashes during the holiday season at a news conference Wednesday morning. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In light of coming winter festivities, Mayor Richard Berry and the Albuquerque Police Department are urging people to practice personal responsibility and refrain from drinking and driving during the holiday season.

“Let’s make it our goal this holiday season to keep ourselves, our friends and our families from getting behind the wheel after we’ve had something to drink,” Berry told a news conference Wednesday. “If we do that, we can prevent these accidents. They’re 100 percent preventable.”

APD will have at least two DWI checkpoints during the rest of the holiday season – one for Christmas and one for New Year’s – and a total of 37 checkpoints in 2016, APD spokesman Simon Drobik said.

Drobik added that every night, saturation patrols are on duty looking for DWI offenders.

“It really is the unsung heroes of our department, to me, that are out there every night, away from their families, protecting your families, looking for these drunks, keeping them off the roads and looking to put these guys behind bars,” he said.

At the news conference, Berry mentioned a Nov. 29 crash in which three young people were killed.

“When someone loses their life like these three beautiful young people did over Thanksgiving, that’s a preventable tragedy,” he said. “Some family is going to have to spend their Christmas without their loved one this year.”

Drobik said the department doesn’t want to see anything like that this winter holiday season.

“The worst thing for an officer to do is to go on Christmas Eve to inform a family that their family (member) has been killed by senseless acts by a killer behind the wheel, a DWI offender,” he said.

Drobik suggested alternative options such as Uber, calling a friend or even “flagging down” a police officer.

Berry said that residents should take seriously the personal responsibility of preventing DWI crashes.

“If you have a friend or a family member who has had too much to drink, call them a cab, give them a ride home yourself, just do everything we can as a community to protect each other and lift each other up during this holiday season,” Berry said.

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