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W.Va. police arrest 17 on DUI charges

July 06, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. -- West Virginia State Police arrested 17 people in the Eastern Panhandle over the holiday weekend for driving under the influence, nine at a sobriety checkpoint staged along U.S. 11 south of Martinsburg, 1st Sgt. E.D. Burnett announced Monday.

The arrests in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties were part of the agency's participation in Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), a multijurisdiction patrol and enforcement program.

In addition to the arrests, state police investigated seven accidents, issued 70 speeding and nine seat belt citations, and gave out 15 seat belt warnings from 12:01 a.m. Friday through midnight Sunday, Burnett said.

Arrest data wasn't immediately available from the Berkeley or Jefferson County sheriff's departments.

The checkpoint, orchestrated by more than a dozen troopers for about six hours on U.S. 11 near Club Zero and Tri-County Rentals, also led to eight drug arrests, Burnett said.

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"We feel that the DUI checkpoints and extra DUI patrols that our law enforcement community has been involved in has made a positive impact in the amount of DUI offenders on our roadway," Burnett said in a news release.

"But, we still have a long way to go because although the total amount of drunk drivers has been reduced, there are still a great many on the roadways, especially during the weekends and holidays," Burnett said.

Among those arrested for DUI-related charges over the weekend were:

o Michael Landon Pratt, 37, who was charged with one count of DUI causing injury.

Trooper Z.L. Nine said in a complaint that Pratt was operating an all-terrain vehicle that crashed into a small dirt bike operated by a juvenile on Ranger Drive in River Bend Park Saturday evening, according to court records.

A secondary intoxication test indicated the concentration of alcohol in Pratt's blood was .232, well above the legal limit of .08, according to Nine's complaint.

o Saunya Regina Sines, 29, was arrested Friday evening on DUI and drug-related charges after she wrecked a 2005 Chevrolet Malibu on Gerrardstown Road, according to a complaint by Trooper M.D. Gillmore.

Sines was arraigned Saturday by Magistrate Joan V. Bragg on charges of DUI (heroin), possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (heroin) and driving while license is suspended for DUI, according to court records.

The defendant also was wanted by authorities in Allegany County, Md., for failure to appear, according to Gillmore's complaint.

Police seized $938 in cash from Sines' purse and four small bags of heroin, Gillmore said in his complaint.

o During the checkpoint on Saturday, state police helped end a vehicle pursuit in Berkeley County on Interstate 81 that began in Pennsylvania, police said.

Louis Roger Mills, 23, was in Eastern Regional Jail Monday evening on charges of fleeing while DUI, DUI and operating a vehicle without a license, according to jail records.

Maryland authorities told State Police Sgt. K.E. Plumer that Mills, of 47 Fleetwood Court in Martinsburg, was traveling faster than 100 mph in a 1990 Toyota Corolla during the pursuit, according to court records.

The car was stopped near the West Virginia welcome center along the southbound lanes of I-81 after Maryland authorities were able to slow the vehicle down by using stop sticks to deflate the tires, according to Plumer's complaint.

Passenger Joshua Randall Helman, 18, of 6486 Slabtown Road, Waynesboro, Pa., fled the scene, but was later apprehended by Trooper N.K. Campbell and charged with fleeing on foot and underage consumption of alcohol, according to Campbell's complaint.

During the checkpoint operation, Burnett said police seized 7 grams of heroin, 4 grams of crack cocaine, 12 grams of marijuana and numerous prescription medications. The value of the drugs confiscated was $1,470.

Police checked 827 vehicles and conducted 17 field sobriety tests, according to Burnett.

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