Nearly three dozen weekend arrests involve drugs, alcohol

The California Highway Patrol runs a sobriety checkpoint on The Old Road in August 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Santa Clarita Valley deputies and officers arrested 51 people over the weekend, and more than two-thirds of those arrests involved the illegal use of drugs or alcohol.

Of the arrests made by either the SCV Sheriff’s Station or the California Highway Patrol, between Friday night and Sunday night, 33 of them involved either drugs or alcohol.

“We are always proactive in looking for people driving under the influence,” CHP Officer Eric Preissman told The Signal Monday, reflecting on the number of people still drinking and driving.

“We lost five officers (across the state) in the last month,” he said, “three of those drivers were suspected of driving under the influence.”

Sgt. Scott Shoemaker, in charge of the SCV Sheriff Station’s Traffic Office, told The Signal: “We

have traffic deputies tasked specifically with watching for motorists driving under the influence on the streets of Santa Clarita.

“They look for signs that may indicate possible intoxication which could be driving slow, swerving or running a red light,” he said. “We are vigilant about trying to keep our roads safe.

“A lot of our deputies live in SCV, and their families drive on the same roads. We want to avert having any lives being lost because of a drunk driver,” he said.

CHP Officer Andrew Camilleri was killed Christmas Eve, when a Cadillac crashed into his patrol car along Interstate 880. His partner also was hurt in the crash.

A man arrested in connection with the crash is charged with murder and DUI causing bodily injury.

Last week, CHP officers in the San Francisco Bay Area launched a wide-sweeping initiative aimed at getting drunk drivers off the highways.

Until Wednesday, the end of the month, all available CHP officers in the Bay Area were expected to be looking for drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Preissman said, noting the number of SCV drivers suspected of DUI is of great concern.

“It’s been hitting close to home,” Preissman said.

The number of local arrests made for illegal use of drugs and alcohol account for more than 67 percent of arrests carried out on the weekend.

A dozen of the 33 weekend arrests were made by the CHP, with each arrest involving a motorist suspected of driving under the influence.

Preissman said CHP officials are worried that the legalization of marijuana will mean even more people driving while impaired.

Weekend arrests made by deputies with the SCV Sheriff’s Station included allegations such as: possession of a narcotic, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession with prior convictions, under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of drugs in jail and being drunk on drugs with alcohol.

Sheriff’s deputies also arrested four people over the weekend on suspicion of driving under the influence.

“Our patrol deputies are very proactive,” Sgt. Mike Wright, of the SCV Sheriff Station’s Crime Prevention Unit, said Monday.

“Many of our narcotic arrests occur because of the deputies’ observations,” he said. “When they are not responding to calls for service, they are out driving around, looking for any suspicious activity.

“If they see a car parked in a parking lot where all of the businesses are closed, they’re going to check it out due to the burglaries our area has recently experienced. When they make contact with the vehicle’s occupants, sometimes they’ll find that they are in possession of narcotics.”

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