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Deputies use checkpoints to teach teens about drunk driving

Posted August 9, 2008

— Law enforcement agents used sobriety checkpoints to teach teenagers about the dangers of drinking and driving on Friday night.

Approximately 60 officers from nine agencies conducted a checkpoint at Fayetteville and Legend roads in Wake County as part of the statewide "Booze It and Lose It" campaign.

High schoolers and their parents were on hand to see officers arrest 11 people for driving while impaired and issue one felony and one misdemeanor drug charge.

"It brings reality to the myth of drinking and driving," said Jack Lister, a Wake County public-school teacher and instructor with Jordan Driving School. "When they get out here and see what it looks like to be drunk, ... that has a real impact on a student's life."

Gary Nagy, of Raleigh, brought his 16-year-old and 15-year-old sons and nephew, a college sophomore, to the checkpoint. Nagy said he hopes the experience shakes them out of any complacency about drunk driving.

"I'm looking for this to shock them, so when they have to make that tough decision, I want them to make the right decision," Nagy said.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison talked to the students, and a BATmobile, one of the state's six mobile breath-testing units, made an appearance at the checkpoint.

When a drug dog made a hit in a car, Lister used it as a teaching moment.

"Every time (an officer) pulls over a car, they take a risk," he told the teens. "Think about that just a second: If they do a traffic stop and they're out on the street by themselves, they never know what that car has got in it; you never know what an officer's going to run into."

Agents issued 124 charges against 74 people, including 11 citations for driving with a revoked license, nine for driving without a license and one for carrying a concealed weapon.

The Raleigh Police Department conducted a checkpoint at St. Mary's Street late Friday until 4 a.m. Saturday. The checkpoint netted nine arrests for DWI and 38 other charges, RPD spokesman Jim Sughrue said.

State officials chose to launch the Labor Day "Booze It & Lose It" campaign Friday, because the date – 08.08.08 – served as a remind for the legal blood alcohol concentration – 0.08.

Lister said a partnership with the Wake County Sheriff's Office has enabled him to bring students out to sobriety checkpoints nearly a dozen times.

"It's made a difference from day one," he said. "I have students who have graduated and gone onto college, who come back and talk to me about how, 'That DWI traffic stop I went to changed my life. When the opportunity came and it was time for me to drive, I made a phone call and called a taxi instead of driving while impaired, because I've seen the things that can happen.'"

Getting parents involved in such programs is also key to fighting drunken driving among teens and young adults, Lister said.

"Education starts at home. .... When we start talking about drinking and driving, it has gone to be supported in the house," Lister said. "So when I bring parents out here, and they stand right beside their son and watch the checkpoint go on and see how it impacts people's lives, I think that's a tremendous impact in a child's life and in a parent's life."

Nagy said that after bringing his oldest son to a checkpoint, he made sure that his younger son and nephew got the chance to see one in action.

"(My nephew) is exposed to a lot of this, with a lot of college students, and I think it's a great lesson he can take back and share with his buddies of what he's going to experience tonight," Nagy said.

Law-enforcement agents, educators and parents agreed that ultimately, the goal of the checkpoints is to save lives.

"Drinking and driving affects everybody. .... We've lost quite a few students here in Wake County in the last three or four years," Lister said.

Since April, six people have died in crashes involving alleged drunken drivers in Raleigh. In 2007, alcohol-related crashes killed nearly 500 people and severely injured more than 9,000 statewide.

"At the end of the day, we want them (our children) to make good decisions, the one that's not going to impact them for the rest of their lives, but ... most importantly, not hurt someone else for the rest of their lives," Nagy said.


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  • Dr. Dataclerk Aug 12, 2008

    The drinking kids that needed to know this was not there. So they continue to drink and possibly drive even causing harm to others. Oh what was the purpose now. Not all kids reached.

  • Timbo Aug 12, 2008

    Checkpoints have *nothing* to do with radar. They have everything to do with violating your civil rights. Of course, once you go down that slippery slope of justifying giving up your rights to catch law breakers, then it's not a big leap to letting the law walk into you house anytime they want.

  • beachboater Aug 12, 2008

    ifcdirector: How did you use your constitutional rights to defend yourself so you would not die?

    I agree that there are groups (ACLU) and courts that are trying to rewrite the constitution, but a DWI checkpoint doesn't seem to fit that description. Kinda like a radar unit on a patrol car. You break the law, you pay for it.

  • something2say Aug 12, 2008

    I don't know about you but anything they can do to get drunks out of cars works for me! The checkpoints can be a pain but they also are a reminder for everyone that when you get into your car you have to be aware that you could be stopped or pulled at anytime.

    I think it is great they are showing these to students but I can imagine that they are looking at the Drunks arresting thinking "I wouldn't be like that" or "I can handle myself better" etc. Maybe talking to a Drunk Driver who killed someone after drinking just "a few" might be more meaningful! They do think they are invincible and as a result they won't think these drunks apply to them. Regardless, even if just one student thinks before he drives then it is successful!

  • ifcdirector Aug 12, 2008

    "ifcdirector have you ever had a family member killed by a drunk driver?

    No Gohawks. I have had plenty of family members killed and wounded fighting for your freedoms in this country over the last 200 years that you are ready to give away so easily though. I know that doesn't matter at all to you because you don't realize how wrong this is or how it parallels every autocratic communist and fascist state of the past century. I was hit by a drunk driver once by the way and I used my rights under the Constitution to defend myself so I did not die. You strike me as just the kind of person who would give that up too if you were told it was for your own good to give up a little more libery for safety don't you think? By the way. The man who tried to kill me was an illegal alien on probation and still here in this country from the same justice system that makes this surreal bit of nazism possible. Is there any hope for America or our people and rights at all? I don't know.

  • gohawks Aug 11, 2008


    *On a side note: I find it interesting that a positive story about law enforcement helping the community and children only garners one comment. If this were a negative story about a LEO making a mistake the comments would be in the hundreds.*

    SouthernLady05-gone 4 a while-,

    This was posted on Aug 9th, Saturday, you cannot comment on the weekends. I agree, if it was bad or against the deputies or police there would be lots of comments. I am glad that someone is helping take care of our families by doing these checkpoints.

  • gohawks Aug 11, 2008


    have you ever had a family member killed by a drunk driver?

  • ifcdirector Aug 11, 2008

    That's the ultimate indoctrination. Look kids. See how the Officer Friendlies here are stepping all over your Constitutional rights but we are doing it all for you so why don't you feel happy to give them up the next time we ask too? Our Founding Fathers must be revolving at 10,000 revolutions per minute to see that this country has come down to using roadblocks and seizing people without any probable cause whatsoever and state and local government doing it at that when there is no exceptions clause in the Constitution for local or state government in regards to rights. Our system of government is broken and getting worse all the time.

  • shirleyr1 Aug 11, 2008

    Absolutely correct "gohawks", these kids are invincible and so many end up in tragic ends. I think this should be a school requirement as much as the community service requirement that some of the schools enforce. A DUI arrest is not pretty for either the person or the family.

  • SouthernLady05 Aug 11, 2008

    This is great, I hope the kids learn a lot from this experience. A bigger step would be for teens to see a victim of a DUI... maybe a trip to the morge. That'll set them straight.

    *On a side note: I find it interesting that a positive story about law enforcement helping the community and children only garners one comment. If this were a negative story about a LEO making a mistake the comments would be in the hundreds.*

    Good job Officers for protecting us! Keep up the great work.