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New Year's Eve saw 17 arrested on suspicion of DUI in city

New Year's Eve proved to be a busy night for police officers and cabbies in Charleston, with more than a dozen DUI arrests, officers said.

Lt. Shawn Williams, commander of Charleston's Community Services Division, said 12 to 15 officers were roving the city streets Monday evening into Tuesday morning on the lookout for impaired drivers. They found more than a few.

Williams said officers arrested 17 people believed to have been driving under the influence, many of them in downtown Charleston.

The lieutenant said there was "no excuse" for driving while impaired.

"Police were hopeful that motorists would be mindful of the educational efforts put into reminding drivers of the consequences of impaired driving," Williams said in a statement. "Unfortunately, 17 people did not heed the warnings and will now experience the consequences."

Police announced in advance that additional patrols would be used for New Year's Eve and even plugged the popular Intoxi-Taxi service provided by C&H Taxi, Williams said.

Jeb Corey, C&H Taxi's CEO, didn't have the number of free rides provided Monday night but said he thought the turnout was "pretty good."

Williams said officers arrested several people on the city's West Side before midnight and caught several more later downtown.  

"I don't want to say they weren't smart enough to get a designated driver, but really there's no excuse," Williams said. "Shame on them."

There was one alcohol-related crash, he said, on Oakridge Drive when a woman hit an embankment. She was heavily under the influence but not seriously injured, Williams said.

He said a couple of years ago officers arrested 12 on New Year's Eve, but that 17 was a high number.

"I was surprised and disappointed at the same time that people were that foolish to gamble with their own lives, and with the lives of others like that," Williams said. "Fortunately, there were no tragedies and no innocent people hurt."

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.craig@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.


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