Sobriety checkpoint is planned Law enforcement hope check deters drunk driving this weekend

By Nick Smith
Staff Writer
Published/Last Modified on Thursday, October 29, 2009 10:41 AM CDT

The North Dakota Highway Patrol is partnering with the Mountrail County Sheriff's Department to conduct a sobriety checkpoint and take part in extra patrols in Mountrail County on Friday and Saturday.

A Highway Patrol press release states the sobriety checkpoint is to take place in Mountrail County between 7-9 p.m. on Friday. Along with the checkpoint, a large increase in patrols is to take place throughout the weekend.

Capt. Alan Billehus of the North Dakota Highway Patrol said law enforcement is stepping up its efforts to conduct more frequent sobriety checkpoints to try and deter people from making the dangerous and potentially deadly decision to drink and drive.

Billehus said the choice to have the sobriety checkpoint in Mountrail County comes after responding to several serious car accidents recently in the county involving alcohol.

"We just wanted to time this checkpoint with the weekend with Halloween coming up. Hopefully it will deter them," said Billehus. Billehus said several officers from both departments are working overtime to provide the saturation patrols and coverage necessary to allow their presence to be felt in the area this weekend.

Billehus said the intent of the patrol is not to chalk up high arrest numbers, but as an educational tool.

"We're notifying people so they think twice about drinking and driving, so people make the right choice," said Billehus.

As of Oct. 22, a total of 117 people have died on North Dakota roads this year. About 40 percent of the fatalities, or 47 deaths, were alcohol related.