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DUIIs on the rise: Bend police arrest 3 alleged drunken drivers after crashes within 4 hours

(Update: Adding video, comments from Bend officer)

No serious injuries reported, but DUII numbers are on the rise after declining in 2020

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Bend police responded to three crashes and arrested three alleged drunken drivers within four hours Sunday evening, officers said as they noted a rise in such arrests this year after a drop last year.

In 2020 the Bend Police Department racked up 302 DUII arrests, but as summer comes to a close, it's already surpassed that number with 306 arrests and counting.

NewsChannel 21 went for a ride-along Tuesday with Officer Kyle Chaquico, one of the two assigned DUII enforcement officers tasked with stopping drunken drivers.

"It's absolutely constant," Chaquico said, adding that it's a responsibility he does not take lightly.

"My primary focus is when I'm on the road, I'm taking service calls for DUII investigations, DUII calls, and looking for DUIIs," Chaquico said.

Chaquico says the department's greatest ally is the community, when it comes to tracking down drunken drivers.

"One thing I can say is that we're thankful for the community," he said. "I've said this before: They're our best witnesses."

And when it comes to who's behind the wheel, Chaquico says it's across the board.

"Alll different kinds of age groups -- coming from bars, coming from sporting events, coming from house parties, I mean you name it," Chaquico said. "I mean, we get DUIIs at 8 a.m., 2 a.m., midnight -- any time of the day."

Chaquico says the enforcement team focuses on what he calls a "totality of observations."

"You know, when you combine them, or you see other indicators of impairment, you take those as a whole and you top the person on that traffic stop based on those violations," Chaquico said. "And you start to get an odor of alcohol, bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, you can start an investigation."

And Chaquico says if you find youself observing a driver who might be impaired, it's important to look for identifiers that can be relayed to dispatchers.

"So if we can get the indicators, 'Hey, I'm observing this car, they're going out of their lane, this is their license plate, this is their direction of travel and the person is a male with a black sweatshirt,;" Chaquico said. "So calling in, if you can provide those 3 things, it's really paramount for us to conduct an investigation."

Chaquico says sometimes they receive calls they cannot always follow up on.

"A lot of times, we'll have a person call in, and we're thankful for that. But they'll only provide, 'Hey, its a white SUV and its westbound on Riverside," Chaquico said. "We can't do a lot with that, unless we have an officer that's right there right now."

Chaquico says he and his partner Officer, Zach Childers, will continue to work as deterrents. But with 4-10 calls a night, it's going to take everyone involved to ensure the roads are safe.

Here is the rest of the press release from Bend police:

The first crash happened at Southeast Fargo Lane and Reed Market Road around 6:15 p.m. Sunday It involved three vehicles and one driver with a minor injury, Lt. Juli McConkey said.

An SUV tried to turn left onto Fargo Lane and didn’t yield to an oncoming car, hitting it in the side. The car was pushed off the road, into a sign and sidewalk, and was totaled. The force of the crash pushed the SUV into another SUV, stopped at a stop sign. The driver and passenger was unhurt

The car driver sustained a minor injury; the first SUV driver, a 30-year-old Bend woman, was arrested on charges of DUII-alcohol, reckless endangering and reckless driving.

Police were dispatched around 7:40 p.m. to a crash at Northeast Neff and Providence roads, involving a car and SUV The SUV driver tried to turn north onto Providence when he struck an oncoming car. Both drivers were evaluated on scene for minor injuries. The SUV driver, a 28-year-old Bend man, was arrested on charges of DUII-alcohol and reckless endangering.

Around 10:25 p.m., police were sent to a reported hit-and-run with property damage in the 700 block of Southwest Industrial Way. A caller said a pickup truck struck a light pole in the area and the driver was walking away, McConkey said.

Officers quickly arrived on scene and detained the driver, a 25-year-old Bend man who was uninjured. He was arrested on charged of DUII-alcohol, hit and run (property damage), first-degree criminal mischief and reckless driving.

"In 2019, Bend police patrol officers arrested almost 550 DUII drivers," McConkey said in a news release.

"Although the number of arrests dropped to 302 in 2020 for a variety of reasons, it is evident that arrests are increasing this year," the lieutenant said. "While our DUII enforcement team has made a significant impact since their reassignment, our patrol officers are responsible for nearly 60% of the 306 arrests through August 31 of this year.  

"We encourage individuals to use ride share opportunities, or have a sober driver, if they are impaired. We also encourage community members to report if they suspect a DUII driver, by calling the non-emergency line at 541-693-6911, or 911 for an emergency. "

Article Topic Follows: Accidents and Crashes

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.


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