DUI Checkpoint Throws 'Curveball' to Drivers

Dozens of police officers conducted one of the largest sobriety checkpoints in the South Hills on Wednesday night when they patrolled Route 50 in Bridgeville.

Dozens of police officers conducted one of the largest sobriety checkpoints in the South Hills on Wednesday night when they patrolled Route 50 in Bridgeville.

The officers stopped 35 motorists on Washington Pike near from 7:30 p.m. to shortly after 11 p.m.

said the DUI checkpoint netted one arrest for driving under the influence of drugs, while officers issues 13 citations, wrote 15 warnings for expired inspection or registration tags and towed five vehicles. Another person was arrested for driving with altered tags.

King said the earlier time was to throw a “curveball” to motorists and make the public aware that officers are watching at all hours of the day.

“The way we were thinking about this one is throwing a curveball to the public and keeping the public on their toes,” King said. “This isn’t about stats and numbers. It’s about safety. I think we caught a lot of people off guard.”

More than 40 officers from 18 police departments spent time at the checkpoint. Some of the police departments included Bridgeville, Scott, Collier, Heidelberg, South Fayette, Mt. Lebanon, Baldwin, Green Tree, Robinson and Pittsburgh.

“This was probably the biggest checkpoints this area has ever seen,” King said. “We had darn near everyone out, it seemed.”

King said one officer suffered a seizure and apparently hit his head on the pavement after falling to the ground, although he is expected to be fine.

A crash on Interstate 79 near the Bridgeville exit caused heavy congestion on Route 50 as cars were detoured onto the former Kirwan Heights exit. King said traffic became so gridlocked that they eventually had to let cars through to alleviate the back-up.

The officers also had to deal with lightning and heavy rain that forced the closure of the checkpoint at times.

PennDOT officials said this was part of a federal initiative called “Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over."

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clint eastwood August 11, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Hey Clark what does that have to do with this story...... Mike are we able to plug businesses now in the comment section ????
Mike Jones (Editor) August 11, 2012 at 02:27 AM
I wouldn't worry about it because it's spam. But feel free to plug any biz in the comments. We're plugging them with our Readers' Choice polls.
B August 11, 2012 at 04:19 AM
I happened to come upon this from a cross linked article. Honestly, this 'curve-ball' sounds like a tremendous waste of taxpayer time and governmental resources. Given setup and teardown, we are looking at probably 250-300 man hours spent. Given the accident, the number of warnings and tows, it sounds like the general public was inconvenienced more than this 'curveball' provided a benefit. Let's be honest, a Wednesday night is not going to be a hot night for drunk drivers. I understand they think they are pulling a fast one but the resources needed for these massive checkpoints mean they don't happen on a weekly basis and this one looks like just a big waste.
Bob Gelston August 11, 2012 at 04:24 AM
What happened to the 4th amendment? "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Are ours homes next? How much did this cost? DOZENS of OFFICERS (when I went through it it looked like about 3 dozen), median hourly salary $27 ($1332/hour) real time plus prep time (20 hours ($1332x20= $26,6640 [not including overtime]) to catch 1 DUI person this is not a victory but a waste of taxpayer money and a real understanding of what keystone cops actually are.
Bob Gelston August 11, 2012 at 04:27 AM
clint eastwood August 11, 2012 at 08:10 AM
Bob I just wonder if you would think its such a waste of money for one Dui arrest if that one guy was not arrested and slammed into your wife or child's car killing them....... Then you would be crying why don't the police stop these guys before they kill.
Mike Jones (Editor) August 11, 2012 at 12:08 PM
@Bob... I'm big on the right to privacy, but I'm not sure it extends all the way to a publicly financed road. They're not searching every car and only stopping motorists for extended periods if they have reasonable cause (i.e. altered tags, late registration, alcohol on breaths).
Dean Beattie August 12, 2012 at 04:24 AM
If you're going to set up a checkpoint in the middle of the week to and spend a ton of taxpayer dollars on a public safety issue why not do an "agressive driver" check point and nail people for ripping through stop signs and stop lights on RT. 50 during the rush hour. Have half a dozen police officers at the intersections of Collier and Rt. 50 and nail people for blocking the intersection or blowing the stop light like they do so often. I can't tell you how many times i've almost been t-boned at that intersection with my wife and kids in the car. And it's not like they are just trying to get through the yellow light, people fly through the light after it has changed and is green in the other direction and then they get pissed at you, blow their horns, throw their hands in the air as if it's your fault for pulling out in front of them. Usually they're on their phones. The borough could make a killing off of those violations easily, especially with all the constructions there are along RT. 50, double fines, more so than a DUI checkpoint in the middle of the week. Besides, the cops are already hanging out at the BP, Exxon, and especially the Get Go by Rocky's. If they are concerned for public safety in the middle of the week, this is what they should be focusing on.
Nancy August 13, 2012 at 08:53 PM
epic fail.
Bob Gelston August 14, 2012 at 03:25 PM
@Clint - I almost got killed by a drunk driver sitting on my back porch. If I wanted to catch a drunk driver, I would get them staggering out of the bar and watch them get behind the wheel of the car, and catch them before they went a 1/2 a mile. @Mike - Yes, Taxes finance our roads and our police forces which should give them less of a reason to do it. There should be a better and more effective system. It was nothing more than a show of force.
Mike Jones (Editor) August 14, 2012 at 04:02 PM
@Bob... My main point was that you lose some rights to privacy when in public. I can take a photo of a man walking down the street. But if he goes into a local business, I would need to get permission from the biz owner to take photos inside.
trusgold August 15, 2012 at 08:43 PM
grow up ya 2nd grade tattletale
trusgold August 15, 2012 at 08:46 PM
I see Chief Kings point. Sometimes it only takes once and if it aves a life good investment
trusgold August 15, 2012 at 08:48 PM
you are bit off the mark. Driving is considered a priviledge not a right. That's why it's legal. SCOUS
trusgold August 15, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Timber August 16, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Checkpoints are not permitted for general crime control. Not Consstitutional. Checkpoint by design are for time and place of high probability of those potentially committing the offense of DUI. Middle of the week checkpoint could very well fall outside the legally permissible time frame.
Tracman August 16, 2012 at 04:03 PM
They should have invited Cecil, North or South Strabane, Canonsburg or Peters to the party. They all have ALPR (Automatic License Plate Reecognition). Just scan your license plate and they can tell if your registration is expired. Even thought they got them for the narcotic traffiskers and wanted felons. Just another tax collection tool. Beware you are being watched.


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