YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Countywide Focus

Arrests of Drunk-Driving Suspects Drop


Arrests of suspected drunk drivers over the Memorial Day weekend fell by one-fifth this year on Ventura County highways, the California Highway Patrol reported Tuesday.

Drunk-driving arrests on state highways dropped to 40 this year during the 78-hour maximum enforcement period that began at 6 p.m. Friday and ended at midnight Monday, CHP Officer Staci Morse said.

During the same period last year, there were 49 such arrests.

The number of alcohol-related traffic accidents also dropped this year, down to three from the five that occurred last year, Morse said.

But CHP investigators will not know for another six weeks whether alcohol played a part in the holiday's only fatal accident, a single-car crash early Saturday that claimed the life of 26-year-old Kristine Rene Bendiksen of Malibu.

Bendiksen was driving north on Pacific Coast Highway south of Pleasant Valley Road when she lost control of her pickup truck, which flipped over, CHP Officer Paul Thompson said.

Investigators are not sure what caused Bendiksen to lose control of the vehicle, he said, adding that results of a blood-alcohol test will not be available from the coroner's office for six weeks.

Although this weekend's total of 22 accidents was higher than last year, there were actually fewer injury accidents, the CHP said.

Only six accidents resulted in injuries.

Morse said she hopes that the decline in alcohol-related accidents means that the public is paying more attention to warnings about the dangers of drunk driving.

"Any lower amount of (alcohol)-related accidents is a step in the right direction," she said.

Los Angeles Times Articles