Drunk and drugged driving happens more often than you might think in the Valley, and it's no surprise that DUIs can come at a cost for everyone on the road.
"It's not worth it. I was looking at $8,000 in fines for both cases when all I had to do was call Uber, which would've been $8 to $10."
James Stepp admits he mess up, charged twice with DUI in 2016, but he's far from alone.
Raul Garcia Holguin’s blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit when he slammed into a car stopped at a red light in El Mirage, according to police. Police say he hasn’t had a license since it was revoked in 2002 for an aggravated DUI conviction.
Dana Marie Hullaby was speeding in west Phoenix with a 7-month-old child in her car when she was pulled over. She had a blood alcohol content of .12, police said, and now faces an aggravated DUI charge.
Eraclio Carrion Morales had six children in his car when he was pulled over in Mesa, showing “numerous signs of impairment,” according to police. He was also charged with aggravated DUI.
As part of our Operation Safe Roads coverage, these were just a few of the stories we discovered while gathering a "snapshot" of a typical summer weekend in the Valley for impaired driving.
Data from records requests to every agency in the area paints a frightening picture of what is happening on our roadways:
- 167 DUI or suspicion of DUI incidents were reported between June 7-10 from 10 agencies: Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Salt River, Surprise, Scottsdale, and Tempe police departments and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. (Casa Grande, El Mirage, and Goodyear police departments and the Department of Public Safety did not provide ABC15 with the data within a month of our request.)
- Over 40 percent of the incidents occurred between the overnight hours of 12 a.m. and 4 a.m.
- About 18 percent of the incidents were reported as “extreme DUI,” which is .15 percent BAC or higher.
- About 17 percent of the arrests were for drugged driving. According to the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, arrests for drugged driving have gone up more than ten times in recent years.