Police targeting drunk drivers
Efforts come on the heels of early-morning alcohol-related traffic fatality
Henrico County Police officials are planning heavy enforcement efforts during the coming Fourth of July weekend, with a particular focus on drunk drivers.
The weekend typically is one of the deadliest holidays nationwide for alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities.
Earlier today, a 37-year-old woman died in a crash in Eastern Henrico that police determined was alcohol- and speed-related. The car's driver, Charles L. Smith of the 200 block of Taylor Road in Sandston, was charged with driving under the influence (his third such offense) and driving while his license was revoked. The crash occurred shortly after 2 a.m. on Meadow Road, when Smith was driving east, drove off the left side of the road,struck a utility pole and drove through a wooden fence.
The vehicle overturned multiple times and came to rest on the passenger side in the woods. Both Smith and the passenger, Tara Lee Mason, were transported to VCU Medical Center. Mason was pronounced dead at 5 a.m. Smith was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
In an effort to prevent similar outcomes this weekend, Henrico officers will be taking part in the "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest" enforcement.
Statistics gathered from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the past 25 years show that, on average, nearly half of all deadly traffic crashes over each year's July 4 holiday involved some level of alcohol.
In fact, 410 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationally during the Fourth of July weekend in 2009. Of that number, 40 percent involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.
"The Fourth of July is a time most Americans spend celebrating with family and friends, but it is also one of the year's deadliest times on our roadways. So we will be out in force cracking down on drunk driving. If you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested," said Sergeant K.R. Burnett.
All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have made it illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher.
"We want people to be careful all weekend, but particularly at night," said Burnett. "The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2009 was four times higher at night than during the day."
Impaired driving is one of America's deadliest problems. In 2009 alone, 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes, accounting for nearly 32 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in the United States. That's an average of one impaired-driving fatality every 48 minutes in 2009.
Burnett said that impaired drivers not only take the risk of hurting or killing themselves or someone else but also risk the trauma and financial costs that an alcohol-impaired-driving crash or an arrest can create. Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates and dozens of other unanticipated expenses.
"Alcohol impairs many of the skills that safe driving requires. So we will be showing zero tolerance, and anyone caught driving with a BAC of .08 or higher will be arrested," Burnett said. "It's simply not worth the risk to you or to the thousands of innocent victims who are hurt or killed each year by drunk drivers. So if you are over the limit, you will be arrested."
For details, visit http://www.StopImpairedDriving.com .
Henrico County Recreation and Parks will present “Red, White, and Lights” at Meadow Farm Museum/Crump Park July 4.
Henrico County has hosted a Fourth of July celebration annually since 1981, but this year’s event will offer a later start time and expanded hours and be highlighted by new entertainment.
The free event will begin at 4:30 p.m. and will feature the Richmond Symphony, a laser-light show, patriotic performances, and family activities. > Read more.
The Tuckahoe Family YMCA and ReEstablish Richmond will host the third-annual Refugee Community Resource Fair Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to noon at the YMCA, 9211 Patterson Avenue in Henrico. The event is designed to provide refugees in the region information about jobs, local businesses, housing, health care, education and more.
As part of its strategic plan, the YMCA of Greater Richmond works to identify, address and eliminate economic, geographic and cultural barriers. > Read more.
Muse Paintbar, which combines painting instruction with a wine bar and restaurant, opened June 23 at The Shops at Willow Lawn in Henrico. The location is the company's 17th nationwide.
Guests can learn from local artists while sampling a wide selection of wine, beer and tapas. The facility held a soft-launch last weekend, allowing patrons a sneak peek at the studio’s artistic offerings.
Muse anticipates expansion across the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area this summer. Other locations are spread throughout the Northeast. > Read more.
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Jun. 16, 2016Click here to read the print edition.
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