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El Paso County's Super Bowl weekend DUI arrests third highest in state

February 17, 2016 Updated: February 17, 2016 at 7:34 pm
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El Paso County ranked third highest in the state for drunken drivers arrests over Super Bowl weekend.

Of 276 impaired driver arrests made during the Feb. 5 to 8 enforcement period, 41 occurred in the county, according to records released by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Colorado Springs Police Department recorded 27 arrests, Colorado Springs state patrol made three arrests, Fountain police made two arrests and El Paso County Sheriff's Office made nine, records show.

The majority of drunken driver arrests occurred in the days leading up to the big game.

Pre-game festivities resulted in 25 arrests. Eleven arrests came the day of Super Bowl 50, CDOT said.

Lt. Scott Schwall with CSPD called the saturation event bittersweet.

Officers want to get impaired drivers off roadways, but it's disappointing to see so many people risking it, Schwall said. This year's arrests were slightly higher than during Super Bowl 49 last year, when police made 24 arrests, he said.

"It suggests that we're doing a good job of detecting DUI drivers and taking them off the road, but maybe we need to do a better job of getting the message out to not drink and drive," Schwall said.

The 276 arrests made over Super Bowl weekend was an increase from 2015, when 234 people were arrested, CDOT said.

Colorado State Patrol made the most arrests of the 76 participating agencies across the state, with 51 arrests. They were closely followed by the Aurora Police Department, with 44 arrests. Denver's numbers were not reported.

A woman killed in a crash on Interstate 25 on Valentine's Day was the first traffic fatalilty in Colorado Springs this year where police suspected alcohol to be a factor.

Danielle Green-Cortez, 35, died in the single-vehicle crash just after midnight Sunday on northbound I-25, near the exit for Fontanero Street. She was not wearing her seatbelt and was suspected to have been drinking, police said.

She is the third traffic fatality in Colorado Springs this year, according to records. At CDOT's last count last week, 28 people had died in crashes across the state.

The next DUI enforcement period will be around St. Patrick's Day - March 11 through 18 - as a part of ongoing efforts to stop drunken driving in the state.

CDOT awarded $3.5 million to organizations and law enforcement in fiscal year 2016 to increase patrols on 12 holidays and special events, like the Super Bowl. Colorado Springs police got a $90,000 slice of the funding.

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Contact Kaitlin Durbin: 636-0362

Twitter: @njKaitlinDurbin

Facebook: Kaitlin Durbin

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