County police arrest 15 at DWI checkpoint More than 1,400 vehicles stopped in Brooklyn Park

March 23, 1997|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel police reported arresting 15 drivers overnight Friday in Brooklyn Park as they set up their first DWI checkpoint of the year on one of the county's most dangerous roads -- Ritchie Highway.

More than 1,400 vehicles were stopped at the checkpoint, aimed at motorists driving while intoxicated, that was set up between 11th and Townsend avenues late Friday and early yesterday, police said.

One of those charged with DWI -- James Pernell Demby, 32, of the 8300 block of Beachwood Park Road in Pasadena -- also was accused of drug possession. Police said they found a pipe with suspected crack cocaine residue in his car, which was stopped after an illegal turn.

"We want to let the public know we're serious about DWI arrests and reducing the number of alcohol-related accidents by getting those drivers off the streets and making them safe," said Officer Vaughn Dykes, an Anne Arundel County police spokesman.

Nationally and in Maryland, fatal accidents involving drunken drivers had been declining over the past decade, according to officials with Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Maryland.

But in 1995, the most recent year for which statistics have been compiled, more than a third -- 234 -- of Maryland's 671 traffic fatalities were alcohol-related, a slight increase over 1995, according to a Washington advocacy group.

But the accident statistics reflect only a fraction of the drunken drivers arrested.

State police records show 23,997 drunken driving arrests were made in 1995 -- and more than 2,000 of them in Anne Arundel, according to county police.

Pub Date: 3/23/97

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