Roadblock was the first since retail marijuana became legal in January


AURORA  | An Aurora police DUI checkpoint at the onset of the Memorial Day weekend netted four arrests, including one person charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.

Aurora police Lt. Jeff Turner, who oversees the department’s traffic section, said that during the May 23 checkpoint on South Chambers Road near East Jewell Avenue, officers contacted 747

Of those, officers suspected seven of being intoxicated and arrested four of those after conducting roadside tests. 

Turner said one of the four suspects was charged with driving under influence of drugs, specifically marijuana. While suspects accused of driving under the influence of drugs are often also drunk, Turner said this suspect was not. The department conducts five DUI checkpoints every summer and this was the first one of 2014. That means it was the department’s first checkpoint since legal marijuana sales started in January. 

Turner said the department hasn’t yet studied the numbers, but based on anecdotal comments from patrol officers, he anticipates more DUID cases at future checkpoints. 

“It is becoming more popular and more frequent,” he said. 

The Aurora checkpoint was one of several DUI crackdowns, including increased patrols and check points in Denver and other cities, over the Memorial Day weekend.

“Summer is a time when people will drive to an event like a concert or BBQ, have a few drinks and think they’re OK to get back behind the wheel,” Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT, said in a statement announcing the crackdowns. 

According to CDOT, in 2013, there were 188 alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities and 36 percent of those occurred between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. More than 2,386 people were arrested last summer for DUI, which means .08 blood alcohol content, Driving While Ability Impaired, which means a .05 BAC.

“Warmer weather brings more people on the roads,” Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol, said in the statement. “As more people get on the road to travel, we hope they will be responsible and drive sober. Motorists need to face the fact that if they drive impaired, we will catch them. Our goal is always zero deaths on our roadways.”

According to preliminary data from the Colorado Department of Transportation, 130 drivers were charged over the weekend with DUI. Police in Lakewood and Firestone also arrested one person each on suspicion of DUID. 

Aurora has four more DUI checkpoints planned this summer, Turner said. In recent years, the department has contacted fewer and fewer people at the checkpoints, he said, a drop that is likely the result of people using social media to warn people about the checkpoints. 

“We get the distinct feelings that social media is advertising our whereabouts as soon as we set up, and that’s OK too,” he said. 

The department doesn’t really mind people spreading the word about the checkpoints, Turner said, because it helps get the word out that officers are looking for drunk drivers. 

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Bob Roberts
Bob Roberts
8 years ago

Over 700 citizens detained with no probable cause. Welcome to the police state, where rights are denied on a regular basis in Aurora.

Lieutenant Jeff Turner
Lieutenant Jeff Turner
8 years ago
Reply to  Bob Roberts

The longest time anyone had to wait (i.e.detained without probably cause) was less than one minute. Our checkpoints involve a very brief conversation with each driver (usually a few seconds). Also, in accordance with the law, we post signs warning that there is a DUI checkpoint ahead, provide alternative routes and no one is forced to drive through. I would be happy to show Mr. Roberts the planning that goes into a DUI checkpoint and the laws and guidelines we follow. If you like you could come observe a future checkpoint.
Lieutenant Jeff Turner Aurora Police Traffic Section