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Costa Mesa, Huntington and Laguna see dip in St. Patrick’s Day DUI arrests

A Laguna Beach police officer questions a driver at a DUI checkpoint in 2016. The Laguna Beach Police Department said the number of DUI arrests on St. Patrick’s Day dropped from four in 2018 to one this year.

Police officers serving Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach arrested fewer people suspected of driving under the influence on St. Patrick’s Day than they did on that day last year, possibly because this year’s celebration fell on a Sunday, officials said.

Huntington Beach police reported one DUI arrest Sunday, compared with four last St. Patrick’s Day, which fell on a Saturday. For the past five years, the Police Department coordinated the Know Your Limit program, which regularly sends officers to local bars where they offer free breath tests to patrons. However, officers didn’t offer the tests Sunday.

Costa Mesa officers didn’t make any DUI arrests on St. Patrick’s Day but made five the day before, said Roxi Fyad, a Police Department spokeswoman.

In addition, a driver suspected of DUI was arrested early Monday after his Mercedes-Benz crashed into a utility pole on Harbor Boulevard.

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Last year, Costa Mesa made four DUI arrests on St. Patrick’s Day, Fyad said.

Sgt. Jim Cota of the Laguna Beach Police Department said the number of DUI arrests dipped from four last St. Patrick’s Day to one this year. He attributed that to having more patrol officers, the creation of three designated loading zones for ride-sharing apps and a strong anti-DUI campaign that includes Know Your Limit and social media.

Newport Beach officers made four DUI arrests Sunday, the same as last St. Patrick’s Day, said police spokeswoman Heather Rangel.

Daniel Langhorne is a contributor to Times Community News.

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