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County DUI task force on patrol

The Tacoma/Pierce County DUI Task Force kicked off its 13th annual Night of 1000 Stars on Friday which highlighted the effort by law enforcement agencies across the state in search of drunk, impaired and dangerous drivers.

The Night of 1,000 Stars refers to the more than 1,000 badges that will be on the roads across the county through New Year's weekend.

The DUI emphasis began on Thanksgiving, continues through New Year's Day and has been a yearly holiday vigil over the last 20 years. During last year's statewide emphasis, 339 motorists were arrested for drunk driving, compared to 270 in 2001.

The Night of 1000 Stars featured an awards program recognizing people who have made special contributions toward stopping impaired driving, underage drinking and promoting responsible hospitality. A candlelight vigil followed in memory of those killed or seriously injured by impaired drivers.

Each weekend since Thanksgiving extra officers from all local jurisdictions in Pierce County have been out looking for impaired drivers. According to Sheri Badger, the coordinator for the Tacoma/Pierce County DUI Task Force, 89 DUI arrests were made on Thanksgiving weekend, 57 on the weekend of Dec. 5 and 6, and 85 on the weekend of Dec. 13 and 14.

Bonney Lake had four DUI arrests on the weekends of Thanksgiving and Dec. 5 and 6 and two during Dec. 13 and 14.

Dec. 19 also marks the start of the 19-day "Tow to Go" campaign in which local tow companies volunteer to tow home drivers who have had too much to drink. To receive a tow home, contact one of the participating towing operators in Pierce County: Bayview, B-Line, Burns, Bill's of Tacoma, Emerald Towing, Engels, Fife, Gene's, Lakewood, Liberty, Lucky, Parkland, Puyallup, Tacoma and Western Towing.

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