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Extra DUI patrols begin this weekend

Posted at 4:05 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 20:16:45-05

As is now their Thanksgiving tradition police officers and deputies will patrol Tucson streets looking for impaired drivers.

There will be new tactics from law enforcement but the same feelings of heartache for people who've lost loved ones in DUI crashes.

Jamie Leon-Guerrero and her partner Kris Chambers had plans for a future together. Leon-Guerrero says those plans were stolen when a driver, high on synthetic marijuana, hit and killed Chambers as she rode her bike on Speedway near Main Street in 2014.

On the eve of another holiday weekend she says she is anxious knowing some people will drink and drive despite warnings from officers that they will be out in greater numbers.

“There are so many options so it is frustrating when people still drive impaired,” said Tucson Police Sgt. Terry O’Hara.

In 19 years on the force O’Hara has heard every excuse and seen about every trick people use to avoid a DUI. “The old adage was put a penny in your mouth, put a coin in your mouth, so you'll occasionally see someone roadside try to do that,” he says those tricks don’t work and the process to prove someone is intoxicated during a traffic stop accounts for people trying to deceive officers and their instruments.

In 2014 more than one third of fatal crashes on Arizona highways involved alcohol. This weekend new tactics: agencies from southern Arizona will flood areas near Arizona stadium and busy Tucson bars prowling for drunk drivers.

This weekend is the start of the longest stretch of extra DUI Patrols of the year in Tucson.

Leon-Guerrero now speaks to groups around the state: about impaired driving, about Kris, and how she died too soon. “It’s thanksgiving, it’s the holidays, it's a time to be thankful, be thankful for your lives and the people around you, and be grateful for all the moments you have with your loved one. Because you never know when they're going to be taken from you.”