Law enforcement agencies beef up patrols on St. Patrick’s Day

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SAN DIEGO — Law enforcement officers throughout San Diego County will be out in force Tuesday in search of drunken or drug-impaired St. Patrick’s Day drivers.

In addition to regularly scheduled patrols, additional Escondido police officers will be on the city’s streets to seek out revelers who over-indulge, Escondido police Lt. Justin Murphy said.

Sheriff’s deputies will also be patrolling from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Wednesday in the nine cities they serve, according to sheriff’s Lt. Herbert Taft. A similar patrol is scheduled for March 31.

Taft said checkpoints will also be set up in San Marcos on Friday and in Vista on March 28.

The California Highway Patrol will staff a checkpoint on Valley Center Road, south of Charlan Road, from 6 p.m. to midnight, CHP Officer Jim Bettencourt said.

About 275 motorists were fatally injured across the country in St. Patrick’s Day drunken driving crashes between 2009 and 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Law enforcement authorities noted that from 2009 to 2013, almost 75 percent of the drunken-driving fatalities on St. Patrick’s Day involved drivers who had a blood-alcohol content of twice the legal limit.

Partygoers were advised to arrange for a sober ride home ahead of time, such as public transportation or a driving service, don’t let intoxicated friends get behind the wheel and if not drinking, offer to be a designated driver.

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