montgomery county targets bartenders over serving intoxicated individuals
The Montgomery County DWI Task Force conducted several enforcement efforts this past weekend. The Montgomery County DA’s No Refusal Team worked with the Conroe Police Department, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and the Department of Public Safety to apprehend DWI suspects and investigate establishments serving drunk people in bars. The effort led to the arrest by the Task Force of 2 drunk drivers and 1 bartender for serving a drunk. Additionally, TABC detained three intoxicated individuals walking from bars to their cars. They were detained until their parents were able to pick them up. This effort resulted in the first undercover operation after months of educating and warning businesses about the dangers of over-serving. The Task Force was created as a result of several fatalities in June and July caused by over-serving and wrong way drunk drivers.
This effort starts now because traffic fatalities increase significantly beginning on Thanksgiving and ending on New Year’s Eve. Additionally, three young and/or underage individuals have been killed because of over-serving or liquor law violations. This time of year, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve is the deadliest holiday season of the year. As a result, many more police officers will be on the streets patrolling for traffic violators and impaired drivers. The DA DART van, a functional ambulance for blood draws, has been used as a fully trained nurse to draw blood if a judge signs a warrant after a DWI suspect refuses. The Montgomery County DWI Task Force will continue conducting undercover investigations in local bars and also at convenience stores that have been identified as selling to minors to ensure that patrons and employees comply with state and local laws regarding public safety and over-serving.
The enforcement effort is partly funded by the Texas Department of Transportation’s No Refusal grant which allows prosecutors and nurses to work with police during these efforts. The effort will continue this weekend with increased DWI patrols, the Breath Alcohol Testing Mobile Facility from the Sheriff’s Office, and No Refusal prosecutors drafting warrants for people arrested for DWI who refuse to follow the law and provide a scientific sample. The No Refusal Program is a cooperative effort between law enforcement and others in criminal law whereby prosecutors prepare search warrants for DWI suspects arrested by police and present the warrants to judges for review. If the judge signs the warrant, a mandatory blood sample is taken by a nurse also hired through TXDOT funds. The Montgomery County program is unique in the nation because the nurse is taken via a police vehicle to the scene where blood is taken voluntarily or through a warrant. This provides better evidence for judges and juries because the sample more accurately reflects the alcohol amount in the blood at the time of driving. Either the MCSO BAT van or the MCDA DART van is used for these purposes. The DART van is a modified ambulance used to support No Refusal and other enforcement efforts.