So Pas Police Checkpoint Nets 2 DUI Arrests

Pasadena Police set up its DUI checkpoint last Friday, netting two people for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Photo by Steve Whitmore

The South Pasadena Police Department’s traffic unit arrested two people for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs this past weekend during its checkpoint operation.

Police arrested Jason Ubiarco, 28, of South Pasadena for DUI, driving with a suspended license and for an outstanding DUI arrest warrant, according to Capt. Mike Neff.

The other DUI arrest was for 44-year-old Sarah Rich of Alhambra, who rear-ended another car while waiting in the line of the checkpoint.

“One of the drivers [Ubiarco] had a suspended license for DUI and had two warrants totaling $85,000 and this same subject was arrested in June for DUI by SPPD,” said Neff. “The second person [Rich] arrested for DUI rear-ended, non-injury, a driver stopped in the checkpoint line.” Since a DUI is a misdemeanor, the two were booked and then cited and released, according to police.

The checkpoint was set up at 8 p.m. Friday southbound on Fair Oaks Avenue in front of the War Memorial Building. It lasted until 3 a.m. Saturday. Between 10 and 15 officers were deployed throughout the operation.

“I consider this weekend’s checkpoint a huge success,” said Acting Police Chief Brian Solinsky. “Yes, we took a few impaired drivers off the roads. More importantly, we contacted over 400 drivers and only two were found to be under the influence. That tells me the message is getting out. However, there are still too many impaired drivers out there, and law enforcement across California will be doing their part to combat those numbers and make the highways safe for your families.”

To be more exact, 1,295 vehicles drove through the checkpoint and 474 drivers were contacted,” according to statistics released to The Review over the weekend. In total, there were three arrested for not having a driver’s license and five arrested for driving with a suspended driver’s license. Nine field sobriety tests were administered, eight cars were towed and 14 people received warnings about one thing or another.

Meanwhile, California has seen a disturbing increase in drug-impaired driving crashes. So Pas PD supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety that aims to educate all drivers that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning on the label, you might be impaired enough to get a DUI. Marijuana can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI.

The deterrent effect of High Visibility Enforcement using both DUI checkpoints and DUI Saturation Patrols has proven to lower the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug-impaired crashes. Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized proactive DUI operations are conducted routinely.

DUI checkpoints like this one are placed in locations based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests, affording the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence. Locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public.   

In California, alcohol involved collisions led to 1,155 deaths and nearly 24,000 serious injuries in 2014 because someone failed to designate a sober driver. 

Studies of California drivers have shown that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems.  A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.

South Pasadena PD offers these reminders to ensure you have a safe night of fun that doesn’t involve a DUI:

• Decide before you go out whether you plan to drink or drive. You can’t do both.

• If you plan to drink, designate a sober driver before going out or map out another safe way to get home by taxi, ride-share or public transportation. You can also look up designated driver services in your area using the National Directory of Designated Driver Services (NDDDS).

• See your friend or other patron impaired trying to get behind the wheel? Take the keys and help them make other arrangements to get where they are going safely.

• Report drunk drivers – Call 911.

Funding for this checkpoint was provided to the SPPD by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The grant for the year totals $75,000, according to police.