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Holiday DUI Enforcement Efforts Yield Over 150 Arrests in Santa Barbara County

Holiday enforcement efforts to crack down on drivers impaired by alcohol and drugs yielded a significant number of arrests, according to local law enforcement.

The California Highway Patrol, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department and multiple city agencies announced Friday that they arrested 151 individuals over a 20-day enforcement period.

The agencies conducted sobriety checkpoints and increased saturation patrols between Dec. 13 and Jan. 1, according to CHP Sgt. Kevin Huddle.

Last year, during the same period, 154 DUI arrests were conducted throughout Santa Barbara County, he said.

This year, an alleged DUI crash in Santa Ynez killed one motorist, retired teacher Linda Wall. The driver who allegedly caused the three-car collision, Rebecca Sandoval, 37, of Lompoc, is facing a murder charge in the incident, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

There were no deaths during the same period last year, Huddle said.

Huddle explained that this year's statistics are provisional, and that some agencies have yet to report their numbers.

More DUI enforcement is yet to come in 2014, he said. DUI operations will be stepped up around Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 2 and then again around St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day also proved to be a busy time, and the Santa Barbara Police Department reported three DUI arrests and 10 public intoxication arrests.

Those numbers proved to be an increase, as there was one DUI arrest and seven public intoxication arrests during the same period last year, said Sgt. Riley Harwood, a department spokesman.

Huddle said drivers encountering a motorist they suspect to be impaired should call 9-1-1.

Funding for the increased enforcement through the Avoid the 12 program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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