A multi-agency effort to net Jackson County drunken drivers over the Fourth of July holiday turned up more suspended drivers than those under the influence of intoxicants — but that doesn't mean the roads were safe, police say.
The four arrests for driving under the influence of intoxicants likely were just a sliver of the motorists who slipped behind the wheel after over-indulging at civic fireworks displays or house parties on Thursday and early Friday, police said.
"We went fishing and caught four, but there's a lot of DUII activity out there," Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau says. "It's certainly less than expected."
Medford police were joined by the Oregon State Police, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department and the police departments in Central Point, Eagle Point, Talent and Butte Falls.
Along with the four DUII arrests, officers collectively nabbed five driving while suspended and three uninsured motorists, one drug arrest, one other felony arrest, one arrest on an outstanding warrant and 34 miscellaneous traffic citations — including one safety-belt violation.
Medford police followed that up with just two more DUII arrests over the past weekend, Budreau says.
"That's pretty unusual considering that five or six (DUIIs) is pretty much the average weekend," he says.
Budreau says the numbers could be low because many people flee the valley during extended Fourth of July weekends to camp and celebrate at mountain lakes.
"It's not really a night to go to the downtown bars, but there are a lot of house parties where people are drinking and lighting their own fireworks," Budreau says.
The next multi-agency saturation patrol likely will occur during the Labor Day weekend, Budreau says.
— Mark Freeman