PINEDALE – DUIs (driving under the influence) were up 200 percent this past Rendezvous weekend over last year. This in a year when local businesses and the Sublette County Emergency Management Services (EMS) supplied a free taxi service willing to take drinkers wherever they needed to go.
The total DUI count for Thursday, Friday and Saturday night was 13, with one public intoxication charge. Seven of those DUIs came from the Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP), and five were caught by Sublette County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) deputies. Both agencies were out in force over the weekend, with nearly every deputy, captain and detective working the streets.
The vast majority of those arrested – nine in all – were brought in on Saturday night, between the hours of 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. the next morning, which, while technically Sunday, was clumped with the aftermath of Saturday night drinking.
Six of the drivers were still in jail on Monday morning, although all had been released by Wednesday.
Both WHP Lieutenant Jason Green and SCSO Public Information Officer Steve Smith noted it was a busy weekend for patrol officers. Smith said the numbers were up drastically compared with last year, which only had four recorded DUIs, adding the only other weekend that came close to this was New Years, which still wasn’t as bad.
Green noted there had been a similarly busy weekend for troopers last year, but “that was over four days; it didn’t bring in nine arrests on a single night.”
While proud of his troopers for the job they did – two troopers had three DUI arrests each – he said it should have been a quieter weekend.
“EMS was out there with their free taxi,” he noted, adding there was no excuse to be driving after drinking.
At least two of those arrested were under 21, including an 18-year-old young man whose blood alcohol content (BAC) measured 0.192 percent, far above the legal limit for an adult, much less a minor. According to Deputy Carson Turner’s report, the young man’s BAC precluded him from being charged as a youthful offender.
The other minor, also arrested by Turner, was 20 with a BAC of 0.069 percent; he was charged for a DUI as a youthful offender, as well as for possession of marijuana.
While many of the arrests followed the traditional driving violation leads to standard field sobriety tests model, one included a fight and property damage as the offending driver tried to evade deputies and ran through a fence.
A deputy and two detectives were called to Lakeside Lodge to respond to a fight involving alcohol. One man involved left the location in his vehicle, only to come to a screaming halt by running into a fence by the lower boat dock. The driver was eventually charged with a DUI, careless driving, open containers and property defacement.
This was around 5 p.m. on Saturday, and the deputies’ and troopers’ night was only beginning. Rendezvous is the busiest weekend of the year for many reasons. Throngs of tourists flock to Pinedale, businesses have one of their biggest draws and, despite the EMS making every effort to eliminate the need for driving under the influence, law enforcement is run ragged by drunk drivers.