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Countywide Focus

CHP Reports Rise in Drinking Arrests

September 08, 1993|PATRICK McCARTNEY

Arrests of suspected drunk drivers in Ventura County increased this Labor Day weekend, while the number of drinking-related accidents declined, the California Highway Patrol reported Tuesday.

However, the weekend was marred by two fatal accidents.

Highway Patrol officers arrested 45 drunk-driving suspects on county highways this year during the 78-hour maximum enforcement period from 6 p.m. Friday to midnight Monday, CHP Officer Staci Morse said. During the same period last year, there were 39 such arrests.

Although arrests were up, the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents dropped this year to five, down from the eight that occurred last year.

The total number of traffic accidents reported in the county on state highways was 34 over the weekend, two more accidents than during last year's Labor Day weekend, Morse said.

The number of injury accidents dropped to 15 from 20 last year, but the number of individuals injured--26--remained the same, she said.

Raul Leonard Cobos, a 28-year-old day laborer from Oxnard, died Sunday afternoon after losing control of his car on Pacific Coast Highway south of Las Posas Road.

Early Monday, Alberto Torres of Santa Barbara was killed when the car he was a passenger in hurtled off the Ventura Freeway near Seaward Avenue and struck a tree, Morse said.

The driver, James T. Pawlonek, 28, of Santa Barbara, was treated for major injuries. He was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, she said.

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