MSP: 200+ drunk driving arrests over 4th of July holiday

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — More than 200 people were arrested for drunk driving across the state over the Fourth of July holiday period, according to an audit by Michigan State Police.

Increased police patrols from July 1-13 resulted in 236 drunk driving arrests and 381 seat belt and child restraint citations, according the the annual drunk driving audit.

Thirty-one of the 236 drunk driving arrests were for a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .17 or higher, over twice the legal driving limit.

There were nine traffic deaths during the 2014 Fourth of July holiday period; a much lower number from the previous year. Five of of the deadly crashes involved motorcyclists. Three of the fatal crashes involved alcohol.

There were 19 traffic deaths during the 2013 Fourth of July holiday period, which was one day longer because of the weekend.

“Each traffic death represents a family grieving the loss of a loved one,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). “The dedicated officers who participated in the stepped up enforcement for the Fourth of July holiday worked tirelessly to find and arrest drunk drivers before they could cause a tragedy.”

During the Fourth of July enforcement effort, officers also made 88 drug arrests, 18 felony arrests, 145 other misdemeanor arrests and apprehended 179 fugitives.

A vehicle search during a traffic stop in Ingham County uncovered more than three pounds of marijuana hidden in the vehicle. It was later discovered the driver intended to sell it. A driver in Berrien County was arrested for driving with a suspended license for the eighth time and one driver arrested in Jackson County had a BAC of .20.

Preliminary reports indicate law enforcement officers from nearly 160 local police departments, sheriff’s offices, and MSP posts stopped 7,884 vehicles during the two-week effort.

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