More than 90 arrests made in Twiggs County on St. Patrick's Day
TWIGGS COUNTY, Ga. -- Authorities are out on Highway 358 in Twiggs County ensuring impaired drivers don't stay on the roads this St. Patrick's Day.
The Twiggs County Sheriff's Office conducts a DUI checkpoint every year on March 17. Sheriff Darren Mitchum said many drivers deputies stop are repeat offenders.
"We get a lot of repeats that come through the year before and then the year before that," Mitchum said.
Within the first half hour of stopping cars Friday afternoon, Captain James Faulk said they stopped some of the same people for the third year in a row.
"We get all kinds of things impaired drivers, people with warrants, just a host of stuff," Mitchum said.
Throughout the day deputies stopped people on the ramp coming off of I-16 onto Georgia Highway 358.
Lee Smith with the K-9 unit said him and his dog Senta have had a busy evening.
"There's been a lot of drug arrests," Smith said. "There have been way too many drug arrests to be truthful with you."
Barbara Davidson is a teacher at Twiggs Academy and has lived in the area her entire life.
"The safety of the people of this county, this area, is what's important," Davidson said.
She lives on Highway 358 and says she's happy the big operation takes place each year.
"If they get one drunk off the road it's worth it," Davidson said.
Deputies stopped drivers, had them take breathalyzer tests then searched them and the cars before making arrests.
If the driver was arrested, their car was towed.
Mitchum said every year they bust a lot of drivers.
"Within a 24 hour period we booked, actually processed through the jail, I want to say it was around 106 people," Mitchum said.
He expects a similar number Friday.
"If you take impaired drivers off the road then you take potentially a death off the highway and if we save one life while doing it, it's all worth it," Mitchum said.
The checkpoint location is a popular route to Savannah where St. Patrick's Day celebrations are held.
Deputies from Twiggs and Bibb counties along with Perry Police and the Georgia State Patrol plan to stop all drivers to make sure they're sober and don't have warrants.
Brian Mixon with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety said there needs to be an active change to lower the number 1,559 - that's how many people died in car crashes last year in Georgia.
"We need your help," Mixon said. "We just need citizens to make the decision that we're not going to part of the problem. We're going to celebrate, we're going to have a great time, and we're going to set ourselves up for success with our families and our friends."
Dozens have already been arrested for drinking and driving, open containers and drug possession.