Local Pictures
Classified Ads
 Announce Births
Email Us
Buy A Copy
Local Links

click here to
The Daily

web page consultants:
Servant Technologies


05-29-03: Local DUI arrests rise

The Daily Standard

    Drunk driving arrests in Mercer County have continued to go up, increasing from 22 in the first four months of 2000 to 48 in the first four months of this year, the Mercer County Taskforce on Youth Issues learned at a Wednesday meeting.
    Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey presented the DUI and alcohol related statistics while explaining the primary focus of his department has changed from policing underage parties to taking impaired drivers off area roadways.
    Grey said he looks at the monthly DUI statistics to see if there is a trend or pattern that needs attention. On Wednesday, he presented to the taskforce the statistics for months January through April of the last four years.
    The statistics show the total number of DUI arrests by the sheriff's department during the first four months of each year were 22 in 2000, 19 in 2001, 28 in 2002 and 43 this year.
    Of the total arrests, the number of those age 18 and below were 3 in 2000, 1 in 2001, 2 in 2002 and 4 this year. The number of people age 18-20 who were arrested for DUI was 5 in 2000, 4 in 2001, 7 in 2002 and 4 this year.
    The largest amount of DUI arrests were adults over age 21. The number arrested was 14 in both 2000 and 2001, 19 in 2002 and 35 this year. (See accompanying chart.)
    Last year, the number of DUI arrests by the sheriff's department throughout the entire year was 118, Grey reported. Five of those were under age 18, 27 arrests were between age 18 and 20 and the rest, 86, were over age 21. In 2000, the sheriff's deputies made 59 DUI arrests, 39 of which were underage.
    Two lives were claimed on Mercer County roadways last year and both were alcohol-related, Grey said.
    The sheriff's statistics for the first four months of each year also showed the number of DUI arrests that resulted from crashes. The number of those age 21 and over who were arrested after a crash was 4 in 2000, 7 in 2001, 6 in 2002 and 20 this year. The number of those underage who were picked up after a crash was 2 in 2000, 1 in 2001, and 3 in 2002 and this year. (See accompanying chart).
    Some people claim alcohol problems are worse in the south end of the county and relatively rare in the north. The sheriff quickly cleared up that misconception for taskforce members.
    "We made more DUI arrests in northern Mercer County last year. Everybody blames the southern part because that's where the bars are located."
    Grey told taskforce members deputies continue to respond to reports of underage drinking and accordingly fill out information cards on young people they nab. Parents are called in to deal with first-time offenders; repeats earn a ticket to Mercer County Juvenile Court.
    Of the 300 or so cards on file at the sheriff's office, there have been no more than 10 repeat offenders, leading Grey to comment "I don't think we're doing too bad in that regard."
    Local surveys indicate high schools with low alcohol consumption rates usually have a higher incidence of drug usage and vice versa.
    "We have to focus on more than alcohol here in Mercer County," Grey said. "At some point alcohol becomes legal; marijuana never does."
    The taskforce, which organized in recent months, has been looking at problems facing young people. Its mission is "to create a heightened sense of public awareness about illegal drug and alcohol usage and inappropriate sexual activity among Mercer County youth."
    Sue Wills, youth director at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Celina, questioned that philosophy. "Are we going to educate the community or reiterate the problem we already know exists?"
    She believes in giving teen-agers positive alternatives and encouraged members to get involved in the upcoming "Revolution by the Lake." The new Lake Festival event will bring several nationally known Christian rock bands to the area.


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2003
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822