Some question DWI checkpoint after LSU Tiger Tailgating

Published: Sep. 11, 2012 at 9:57 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2012 at 10:07 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge police and East Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputies conducted a DWI checkpoint in the 600 block of South 10th street on August 25. Forty four people were arrested for driving while intoxicated and 1,782 were screened.

Earlier that night at the River Center, a rodeo and the LSU Tiger Tailgating rally were going on. The rally offered free beer samples to adults, many of which were subject to that check point later. The rodeo also offered alcoholic beverages that could be purchased.

Baton Rouge Defense Attorney Glen Deslatte is representing some of those arrested. He says the timing and location of that checkpoint is questionable. "It just seemed like a big dragnet," says Deslatte. "What concerns me is what's next? November 3rd Nicholson drive? We set up a checkpoint there. We could stop, what, 100,000 people?"

November 3 is the LSU home game against Alabama. "That checkpoint, that night, saved lives," said Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White. "When you have to tell a family member, and you look at some kids and a wife, and you have to tell them their husband and a father is not coming home because he was killed by a drunk driver. I'm proud of those statistics."

Deslatte says laws surrounding traffic stops and checkpoints are different. Checkpoints, says Deslatte, are far more restrictive. Deslatte says on the 10th Street checkpoint, it was a one way street and you were stuck. There was no notice in advance of the stop to give the driver the opportunity to exit if they needed or wanted to.

Still, Chief White is determined. "We're not going to hunt in a baited field but when people imbibe and they get on the open road and they're impaired, we have a sense of obligation to ensure we get these people off the highway."

White says his officers will continue to run checkpoints throughout Baton Rouge.

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