Crime Vista

Vista checkpoint results in one arrest

A total of 2,710 vehicles passed through the San Diego Sheriff’s Vista Traffic Division’s DUI/driver’s license checkpoint on July 27 at the 700 block of East Vista Way.

One person was arrested for driving under the influence. A total of 32 citations were issued with 14 going to persons who were unlicensed drivers and five to others who were driving with a revoked or suspended license.

Seven vehicles were towed.

The checkpoint timeframe began at 7 p.m. and ended at 2 a.m.

According to Traffic Sgt. Hernan Gonzalez for the Vista Station, the results were typical for the checkpoints previously held in the Vista area. However, he noted there was a large volume of cars which came through which made the checkpoint a success.

“A lot of people saw what we were doing,” Gonzalez said. “It makes people aware and educates them on the dangers of drunk driving.” He added that when officers encountered the drivers they explained to them what was going on.

From the 2,710 vehicles that passed through the physical checkpoint location, a total of 815 drivers had personal contact with law enforcement.

“Out of those people, we sent 63 drivers to our secondary (screening) for further evaluation or for an investigation into whether they were licensed or not,” Gonzalez said. “There were a lot of people who had been drinking, so we conducted nine field sobriety tests to determine their level of intoxication. And out of all of those, we actually took one person into custody for DUI alcohol.”

Hernan also pointed out how a fair number of drivers passing through the checkpoint were unlicensed for various reasons and cited.

Hernan explained that checkpoint locations are determined from data his department collected either from DUI arrests, DUI-related collisions or just general collisions. From that information, they have about a mile radius to conduct these checkpoints.

“The numbers for this particular checkpoint were interesting for me as a supervisor determining where our future checkpoints are because of the amount traffic we had coming through and the amount of unlicensed drivers coming through,” he said. “We did have a good amount of field sobriety tests that we conducted which shows that people are drinking and driving still but not to the level where it’s illegal.”

Previous checkpoints were on the 1000 block of East Vista Way and even on Sycamore, he said.

The next checkpoint is slated for Sept. 7 with a location still being determined. Checkpoints are funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

“The checkpoints are sporadic and are meant to bring public awareness. The Office of Traffic Safety grants us money to help pass the word about the dangers of drunk driving,” he said, adding that public service announcements from the state of California also enhance this awareness.

And Gonzalez said he believes these efforts are working.

During the July 27 checkpoint, he helped direct traffic in and noticed many rideshare companies like Uber, Lyft, and even taxi cabs.

“These kinds of rideshares show me that people are finding other transportation ways to get from Point A to Point B if they are consuming alcohol,” Gonzalez said. “I even had a group of guys come by me that were walking to a nearby establishment that had been consuming alcohol — they told me the reason they were walking was that they had seen our checkpoint earlier in the day.”