During the first sobriety checkpoint of the year, which took place on the evening of Friday, June 20, and early morning of Saturday, June 21, town police charged three motorists with driving under the influence.
Police set up the checkpoint near the intersection of Wasserman Way and Trades Lane, near the main entrance to the Fairfield Hills core campus. Wasserman Way is a heavily traveled road, linking Route 25 (South Main Street) to Interstate 84 and to Route 34 (Berkshire Road).
Besides the DUI arrests, police issued two infractions for child safety seat violations, four warnings for seatbelt violations, and 14 warnings for various other motor vehicle violations, according to Lieutenant Christopher Vanghele.
At the checkpoint, police stopped motorist John G. Smith, Jr, 49, of South Salem, N.Y., at about 9:05 pm on June 20 as he attempted to drive past the checkpoint, police said.
After investigating, police charged Smith with driving under the influence, possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Smith was released on $100 bail for a July 2 appearance in Danbury Superior Court, police said.
At about 11:20 pm on June 20, police stopped motorist John Daneault, 29, of Ansonia at the checkpoint. Following sobriety testing, police charged him with driving under the influence.
Daneault was released on $200 bail for a July 8 court appearance.
Also at the checkpoint, at about 1:13 am on June 21, police stopped motorist Augustine Palmieri, 62, of 21 Platts Hill Road.
After investigating, police charged him with driving under the influence. After processing, he was released on $100 bail for a July 8 court appearance.
One supervisor and seven police officers conducted the checkpoint.
Motorists driving in both directions on Wasserman Way were stopped and briefly interviewed to determine whether they were driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Police hold such checkpoints to make local roads safer for the motoring public.
The June 20–21 checkpoint was the first of three such checkpoints that police plan to hold this summer. The remaining checkpoints will be held in July and August.
During the July 4 weekend, police will have extra patrols on duty to seek out intoxicated drivers.
Three-quarters of the police overtime costs stemming from sobriety checkpoints and other specialized DUI enforcement projects are covered with grant funding.
All town patrol officers recently received 16 hours of training in drugged driving detection.
The term commonly used to describe intoxicated driving is “driving under the influence,” but more specifically, the law is known as “driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.”
There is now more drugged driving by motorists than in the past, and the signs of such activity are not as obvious as driving which is impaired by alcohol use, so police have received the drugged driving training to sharpen their detection skills, according to police.
Street drugs typically used by drugged drivers include marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, according to police.