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Long IslandCrime

Police plan holiday weekend crackdown on intoxicated drivers

Nassau County’s acting police commissioner says those who drive drunk or ability impaired will “pay the price.” Suffolk police vow the same punishment.

Police in Nassau and Suffolk counties are cracking down on intoxicated drivers over Thanksgiving weekend. Starting Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, police will be on the lookout for motorists who are driving while intoxicated or ability impaired. (Credit: Howard Schnapp / James Carbone)

Nassau County’s acting police commissioner has a message for residents ahead of one of the biggest bar nights of the year.

“Here’s your warning, take it now: If you drink and drive in this county we will arrest you,” Patrick Ryder said at a news conference at police headquarters in Mineola. “We will take your car and seize it. You will have to hire an attorney and we will turn it over to our partners in the district attorney’s office who will prosecute you and make sure you pay the price.”

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said the day before Thanksgiving has become known as “blackout Wednesday.”

“Let’s hope blackout Wednesday for kids is not ‘turn a blind eye Wednesday’ for parents,” Singas said. “I’m a parent too. Parents, talk to your kids. Be smart. Talk to them about getting a designated driver, talk to them about making a plan, calling a cab, getting an Uber app. Go pick them up if they need you to pick them up. And talk to your kids about underage drinking. It’s against the law.”

Police in Nassau and Suffolk counties are again cracking down on intoxicated drivers not just Wednesday night but also over the entirety of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Forty-five drivers were arrested last year for driving while intoxicated or driving while ability impaired in Suffolk County from the day before Thanksgiving through the holiday weekend, according to Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini.

Last year, 48 drunken driving arrests were made over Thanksgiving weekend in Nassau, according to county officials.

There will again be increased enforcement in Nassau over the weekend, funded with a grant from the state STOP-DWI program, officials said.

Sini, who also is the Suffolk district attorney-elect, also announced that more officers, plainclothes cops and patrol cars will be on the streets and in shopping areas.

“It is simply not worth risking your life, risking the life of someone else, or risking your liberty by drinking and driving. Particularly when there are so many options to drive home without driving while impaired or intoxicated,” Sini said.

More police officer will be at malls and in downtown areas to deter crime, Sini said. He also advised shoppers to be mindful of their surroundings and lock their cars.

“These are crimes of opportunity and if your car is locked, they move on and they try to find another target,” Sini said.

With Rachel Uda

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