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Daytime DUIs: Impaired drivers bring danger anytime

DUI alleged in double fatality Saturday morning
Posted at 7:31 PM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-21 22:31:23-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Night’s not the only time drunk drivers may put you in danger. When an alleged hit and run driver hit and killed two bicyclists this weekend, Sheriff's investigators charged the driver with driving under the influence—at 9:45 in the morning.

The collision that killed two cyclists happened at 9:45 a.m.—in clear, dry weather on a Saturday. 74-year-old Kenneth Cook and 62-year-old Gretchen Cook died at the scene on Sunrise, near Pontatoc. Sheriff’s investigators say the driver, 26-year-old Ryan Machado turned the case into a hit and run when he drove away.

Deputies say they found him at River Road and Alvernon—and when they did, they charged him with leaving the scene of a traffic fatality—-and with driving under the influence.

People in law enforcement are not surprised to see a DUI early in the day.

Pima Sheriff’s Deputy James Allerton says, “If someone has been drinking a lot through the night, it takes a considerable amount of time to completely sober up. So someone driving, waking up maybe a couple hours later and going for a drive. They could very well still be impaired at that time.”

Deputy Allerton can not comment on this latest case. It’s still under investigation. He says DUI’s are less common in the daytime but they can put you in danger any time—and with legal marijuana an impaired driver could be drunk, high, or both.

The freshest statewide DUI figures we have are a quick snapshot of enforcement over St. Patrick Day March 16 and 17. The figures come from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. They show 254 DUI arrests for this year, 197 for the same period in 2021 and 64 for 2020.

They are not broken down by time of day.

Deputy Allerton says deputies watch for impaired drivers any time of the day. And you can recognize signs an impaired driver is near you. Speeding is not always the giveaway.

“If you see another vehicle where the driver seems to be having difficulty staying in their lane, maybe even nearly colliding with or colliding with curbs or other vehicles," Allerton said. "If they're driving very slowly and look like there's there's no reason for them to be doing that. It could be a sign or symptom of impairment.”

If you see any of those signs call 911 so law enforcement can stop that driver before it’s too late.

Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 30 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.