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APD: 21 Arrested Overnight During No Refusal Initiative
Drunk driving crackdown: while you were sleeping, Austin police were busy hitting the streets to keep drunk drivers off of them. The Big Game meant No Refusal night for anyone suspected of driving while intoxicated.
Police say they made 21 arrests during the initiative, which started Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and wrapped up Monday at 5 a.m. During the same time last year they made 17 arrests. Officers say although most refusal weekends see most of their arrests downtown, this time around they made arrests all over Austin.
When we visited 6th Street between 1-2 a.m. on Monday, there was still plenty of post-game celebration going on, along with police activity nearby: sobriety tests, arrests, and a handful of people taken to the Breathalyzer bus parked at nearby House Park.
Police say this initiative is unique not only because of the wide area of arrests but also in that most of their arrests happen between midnight and 2 a.m., instead of after 2 a.m., since the game wraps up earlier and many people work Monday.
Cpl. Michael Jennings of APD said most of the people arrested were nearly twice the legal limit, around .14 to .15 BAC. Most of the people arrested were in their mid-20s to mid-30s. Cpl. Jennings says there were no major injury accidents that he’s aware of.
“I would say it’s on par with any other normal night, honestly,” said Cpl. Jennings. “You get more of a rush earlier in the night where normally we don’t’ see that as much, but as far as normal arrests I would say on average with one of our normal nights.”
So why do a no-refusal weekend? Cpl. Jennings said with a big event like the game where they know a lot of people will be out drinking, a no-refusal initiative is as much a preventative measure as an enforcement one.
You won’t have to wait long for the next No-Refusal Weekend. Police tell us the next initiative is set for this upcoming Saturday, February 9, for Mardi Gras.
By Adam Bennett