Handful of New Year's DUI arrests in Richmond, Columbia counties

New Year's arrests up sharply across state, officers say

New Year’s Eve celebrations ended with only a handful of DUI arrests in Richmond and Columbia counties.

Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Calvin Chew said deputies arrested five people on charges of driving under the influence between Monday evening and early Tuesday, not significantly higher than any other day. In Columbia County, three people were arrested and charged with DUI.

Chew said Richmond County did not put any extra deputies on the road for the holiday or conduct extra patrols. He said publicity about the dangers of drinking and driving have helped keep incidents low.

“You see the commercials and things about drunk driving, and it’s just that message is getting out there,” Chew said. “Most people have designated drivers, and other organizations help in taking people home. People are just getting that message.”

Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris also said that the holiday arrests did not exceed an average evening and that no extra deputies were put on the road.

“It was a typical patrol night,” Morris said.

Though there was no spike in arrests locally, Georgia saw an increase in DUI arrests during the New Year’s holiday travel period. State troopers arrested 321 people on DUI charges between 6 p.m. Friday and midnight Monday, according to The Associated Press. That is up from the 262 arrests made for impaired driving during the same 78-hour period last year.

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