OWI Task Force to be out in full force

Posted at 8:57 PM, May 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-27 23:22:21-04

The Memorial Day weekend is here and it's expected to be one of the most dangerous in years.

The main reason is more people on the road lately. And more drivers means more traffic fatalities. A new report by the National Safety Council estimates that 439 Americans will be killed on the road this Memorial Day weekend, the highest number since 2009. So police are stepping up patrols.

More than 35 law enforcement agencies hit the streets in the Milwaukee area looking for drunk drivers.

"Statistic shown since this started seven hrs ago in 2009 OWI fatalities are down quite a bit," says Lt. Gary Gabrish.

TODAY'S TMJ4 rode along with Wauwatosa Police Officer Andy Yothsackda who keeps an eye out for the little stuff that can indicate impairment.
"It's harder for a drunk to make a complete stop, use their turn signal, do things, multitask, it's harder for a drunk," says Officer Yothsackda.

So far on Friday night, there have only been minor violations but just a few days ago he arrested a woman for her 5th OWI offense. He says he won't be surprised to make another arrest like that this weekend. But it might not be where you expect it.

"You automatically think it's near a bar. Bar patrons are pretty responsible as far as getting there and getting back. It's the backyard drinkers that you kinda have to look for," says Officer Yothsackda.

The stepped up patrols are expected to go through the weekend. Police are dedicating officers throughout the holiday, some on every shift to watch for OWIs.