Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Officers from four different police departments stopped 839 cars at a DUI checkpoint on Grantsville’s Main Street on Friday night in an once-a-year effort to curb drivers driving disctracted, drowsy, and of course, under the influence.

September 4, 2014
Grantsville DUI checkpoint nets arrests and numerous citations

Police backed up traffic in Grantsville Friday evening in an effort to curb drunk driving.

Officers from the Grantsville City Police Department, Tooele City Police Department, Utah State Parks and the Utah Highway Patrol, stopped 839 cars during a DUI checkpoint. Drivers were screened on Grantsville’s Main Street from 6-11 p.m.

Grantsville City Police Chief Kevin Turner said the roadblock, set to regulation standards with a warrant, the positioning of the traffic cones and the notice given about the operation, occurs about once a year in Grantsville. Officers ask to see a driver’s license, insurance and registration, he said, and detain drivers further only if conditions warrant it.

“The initial stop is limited to 90 seconds,” he said. “If there’s something amiss, it’s a little [longer and more in-depth], say, if there’s a smell of alcohol.”

The operation, funded by a grant through the Utah Highway Safety Office, is one of 14 held so far this year. Sgt. Ted Tingey of the Highway Safety Office said the aim of checkpoints is to catch drunk drivers and warn drivers thinking about driving drunk or otherwise engaging in unsafe traffic practices.

“We’re coming to the end of the 100 deadliest days of the year, from unbuckled seatbelts, drinking and driving, distracted driving, pedestrians in the road — any kind of fatality with a vehicle,” he said. “We’re hoping this sends a good reminder.”

At the checkpoint, a car painted to look half like a taxi cab and half like a police car is one such reminder, he said, hopefully driving home the message that people who have been drinking can choose to go in a cab or be arrested.

While many DUI enforcement checkpoints take place around holidays — besides Grantsville, Lehi also had one over Labor Day Weekend — Tingey said other checkpoints are scheduled between holidays to serve as a reminder to make smart driving decisions during the rest of the year.

“We’re trying to keep DUI enforcement year-round instead of just on holidays,” he said.

Along with the taxi-police vehicle, a Blood-Alcohol Testing unit on wheels — known as a BATmobile — was at the checkpoint for use with any DUI cases. Interviews and any testing, including of breath, blood and urine, between officers and suspects are filmed and burned onto a DVD for use in prosecution, said Trooper Michelle Hancock, BATmobile technician.

Hancock, who travels with the BATmobile from checkpoint to checkpoint, said most of the suspects interviewed in the unit are polite, especially considering the stress and severity of the situation.

“Every once in a while you’ll get someone who’s angry,” she said. “It depends on how they’re dealt with. If you’re respectful with people, most of the time everybody’s pretty nice. They just want to have this done and move on.”

She added, “I feel bad for the people because they’ve made a mistake, and for some of the people, if they’ve had two other DUIs [in the last 10 years], it’s a felony.”

Three people were arrested for DUI at the checkpoint, including two who had their blood tested for the presence of drugs, said Lt. Steve Barrett of the Grantsville City Police Department. Also, 31 citations for equipment, drivers license, insurance or vehicle registration violations were issued.

Turner said while the number of arrests and citations is not high enough for some people to feel the operation is justified, he believes checkpoints have an overall positive effect on the community.

“It’s unfortunate you can’t try to keep some kind of statistics on prevention, what didn’t happen because of an officer’s presence,” he said. “You might just put a bug in someone’s ear that maybe I shouldn’t drink and drive, or maybe I shouldn’t drink that much.” 

Lisa Christensen

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Lisa covers primarily crime and courts, military affairs, Stansbury Park government and transportation issues. She is a graduate of Utah State University, where she double-majored in journalism and music, and Grantsville High School.

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2 thoughts on “Grantsville DUI checkpoint nets arrests and numerous citations

  1. What a shame these civil servants feel their position allows them to violate our constitutionally guaranteed rights. When there is no probable cause, there is a plain violation of the 4th Amendment. And please note that while the stated mission is to catch drunk drivers, most violations were issued for other reasons. But what about our safety?! Well, in the name of safety I propose that all homes be inspected by local law enforcement. They can walk in any time, look for expired cheese in your fridge or nails sticking out of your fence. I mean, if they can only prevent one chipped fingernail, it’ll all be worth it.

    The real shame here is that we let them get away with this scurrilous offense against, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects…”

    “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

  2. You’re absolutely right James. Fishing expeditions conducted by so-called public servants have been ruled as unconstitutional many times. They can only conduct such a stop if a crime has been committed and public safety is the issue. And then the stop is very spacific and not just an ” excuse” to check for anything. It is however understandable that in light of a very deadly summer on the roads, our police agencies would want to do something… Anything to stop the carnage on our highways. And I’m very appreciative of law enforcements efforts to keep all of us safe. Thank you. But please don’t throw all my civil rights in the garbage. Just because I’m not doing anything wrong is still no excuse for you to riffle through my pockets and possesions.

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