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Cops: Seven arrested at July 4 holiday weekend DWI checkpoint

Suffolk County police, New York State troopers and

Suffolk County police, New York State troopers and MADD joined forces Friday night during a holiday weekend sobriety check point on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station. Photo Credit: Christopher Sabella

Long Island law enforcement officers kicked off sobriety enforcement for the July Fourth holiday weekend with several arrests at an overnight checkpoint in Port Jefferson Station, police said.

Seven people were arrested at the checkpoint, which was held Friday night into early Saturday morning at the corner of Route 25A and Hallock Avenue, police said.

State Police were joined by members of the Suffolk County Police Department Highway Patrol Bureau. The checkpoint was conducted as part of a July Fourth holiday enforcement operation. The officers checked 603 vehicles, according to a news release.

Five people were charged with driving while intoxicated and two others with driving while ability impaired, police said. They were scheduled to appear in court in Central Islip Saturday.

State Police plan to continue stepped-up patrols through Thursday. Police will set up sobriety checkpoints, DWI patrols and texting-while-driving crackdowns, including using "concealed identity traffic enforcement vehicles" that can blend in with traffic but are "unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated," police said in a news release. 

"State troopers will be highly visible on the roadways during the holiday, targeting drivers who needlessly put others in danger," State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said. "We know all too well the preventable tragedies caused by impaired, reckless and distracted driving. Make the right choice — if your celebrations include drinking, plan ahead for a safe ride home.”

Last year, troopers gave out almost 10,500 vehicle and traffic tickets during the July Fourth holiday, arrested 240 people for DWI and investigated 152 crashes that resulted in three fatalities and 248 injuries, State Police said.

State park police started its crackdown on drunken boaters Friday, joining the U.S. Coast Guard and National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in the nationwide "Operation Dry Water" campaign to reduce the number of crashes and deaths caused by drunken boaters. Park police said they will set up sobriety checkpoints and increase patrols of waterways.

In New York it is illegal to operate a vessel or a vehicle if you have a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. Any boater found guilty of boating under the influence faces misdemeanor fines up to $1,000 and one year in jail for the first offense, and as high as $10,000 in fines for felony offenses with multiple convictions, park officials said.

With Janelle Griffith

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