Officers patrol drunk drivers home for holidays

November 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Cops refer to it as "Black Wednesday" when a rush of college students, home for the holidays, head out to the bars.

The night before Thanksgiving has taken on a name of its own; cops refer to it as "Black Wednesday" when a rush of college students, home for the holidays, head out to the bars to meet friends.

Cops say Black Wednesday is quickly becoming one of the most popular drinking nights of the year, second to New Year's Eve.

It's a homecoming for hundreds of local college students returning for Thanksgiving and Palo Alto's University Avenue is the place to meet old friends.

"You know everyone's traveling home, everyone wants to be with their family, but not everyone wants to be stuck at home at night with their families. So it's an escape night," said Darien Brilliott from the Rose and Crown bar.

"In Palo Alto, there are so many people, so we often will bump into old friends," said one bar patron.

Police nationwide call this night before Thanksgiving Black Wednesday and extra officers are patrol during one of the busiest nights for local bars.

"Throughout the night, I would say [we'll have] over 1,500," said Nancy Kyong from The Patio at Rudy's.

"We're going to be looking for impaired drivers, drivers that aren't wearing their seatbelts, drivers that are speeding, drivers that are talking on the cellphone," said CHP Officer Moises Escoto.

Across the state, the CHP will be monitoring traffic during one of the busiest travel holidays of the year. It's kicking off a period of maximum enforcement that'll last through Sunday. The focus is on seatbelt safety. Last year, 32 people in California were killed in collisions and two-thirds of them were not wearing their seat belts.

"I started the shift at about 5 o'clock today and traffic has been a little is heavier. There has been quite a few accidents already that I've responded to," said Escoto.

The CHP in the South Bay says other cities like San Carlos and Redwood City asked for reserves in anticipation of Black Wednesday. The CHP also wants to emphasize that people have a non-drinking designated driver because interestingly, they arrest a lot of designated drivers who thought it was OK to just have a few drinks.


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