‘Firecracker’ nets 118 infractions

Published 7:36 pm Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Washington police officer checks the license of a driver at the July 6 Operation Firecracker checkpoint at the intersection of Hudnell Street, Park Drive and East Main Street. Operation Firecracker is part of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, “Booze It and Lose It.” (WDN Photo/Vail Stewart Rumley)

Three Washington roads funneling into checkpoint “Operation Firecracker” on July 6, along with saturation patrols over a nine-day period, netted 118 driving infractions in Beaufort County.

Organizing agency N.C. State Highway Patrol had a very visible presence on the roads over the 4th of the July week as the second year of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program “Booze It and Lose It: Operation Firecracker” kicked off on June 29. All 100 North Carolina counties participated in the program, amping up patrol numbers and checkpoints, with local agencies working together to crack down on holiday driving violations.

“The (Beaufort County) sheriff’s office was a support agency for the lead agency,” said Major Kenneth Watson. “We participated at their invitation and helped with enforcement and operation of the checkpoint.”

The Friday night checkpoint lit up the night at the intersections of Hudnell Street, Park Drive and East Main Street, as Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Office, Washington Police, Alcohol Law Enforcement, Department of Motor Vehicles and Wildlife Resource agents checked to make sure every driver coming through, and each vehicle, was in compliance with the law.

“We’ve participated in (Governor’s Highway Safety Program Initiatives) religiously for the past few years,” said Lt. William Chrismon of the Washington Police Department.  “It’s not all about catching people, it’s about deterring people as well.”

Chrismon said some of the things law enforcement was specifically looking for were open containers in vehicles, underage people with alcohol, registration violations, expired inspections and licenses and no insurance.

At the checkpoint, 22 violations occurred — 10 drivers license violations, four persons driving with a revoked license, four registration violations, a child restraint violation, an equipment violation, and two DWIs. Over the nine days “Operation Firecracker” was in effect, a total of seven DWIs were issued in Beaufort County, in comparison to the five issued during the 2011 operation.