Meridian Star

January 6, 2013

Holiday blitz numbers released

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Mississippi Highway Patrol officials said at least 10 people died and more than two dozen were injured in traffic accidents that occurred across the state during the latter part of the Christmas and New Year's "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" safety blitz.

    According to earlier statistics, five people lost their lives in Mississippi traffic accidents during the Christmas holiday period.

    According to statistics released Thursday by Cpl. Andy West, public relations officer for Troop H in Meridian, one of those fatalities occurred in the troop's district. During the New Year's portion of the blitz, no fatalities occurred in the district patrolled by Troop H personnel. That area includes Leake, Neshoba, Newton, Lauderdale, Kemper, Scott, Smith, Jasper and Clarke counties.

    Statewide, MHP officials said there were 149 total collisions that were investigated by troopers from Dec. 28 through Dec. 31.  

    West said in Troop H there were 31 DUI arrests and 2,793 citations written to motorists. Statewide there were 135 DUI arrests and 5,681 traffic citations issued.

    In Lauderdale County, officials with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department said they made 23 DUI arrests.

    "We worked hard to try and get as many impaired drivers off the roads and highways," said LCSD Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun. "We are pleased with these numbers but we know they could be better. We urge motorists, not only during the holidays, but during all times of the year to not get behind the wheel of a vehicle if they are impaired in any way."

    Calhoun said the numbers compiled by county deputies also showed how effective a safety blitz can be when it comes to combating other types of crime. Calhoun noted there were nine felony arrests and 15 fugitives taken into custody along with eight drug related arrests.

    "We were also able to recover one stolen vehicle during this period," Calhoun said.

    There were also 113 seatbelt violations, 24 child restraint, 53 uninsured motorist and 91 suspended license citations issued during the safety blitz.

    The safety blitz covered a period from Dec. 14 through Jan. 1.