Martin County using DUI saturation patrols to control holiday drinking and driving

Increased patrols 4th of july weekend

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. -- The Martin County Sheriff’s Office is taking a new approach to getting drunk drivers off of the roads this 4th of July weekend.

Deputies  will be utilizing a DUI saturation throughout the county, along with Sewell’s Point police, Stuart Police and Jupiter Island Police.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder says more than 50 deputies will be on the roads all weekend.

This year, the sheriff’s office is not using check points. Snyder says the saturation places deputies all over the county, on small roads and large intersections and increases their presence.

"In a saturation patrol like this, people won't have a heads up of where a check point is to avoid. All roadways will be suspect," Snyder explained.

The sheriff’s office has set up a command post at the intersection of US 1 and Indian street. That’s where Snyder says arrested drunk drivers will be dropped off so deputies can quickly get back on the roads.

Authorities will conduct sobriety tests and have a van ready to transport people to jail.

Lt. Stephen Mochen, with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, says even with the warnings to not drink and drive, he expects some drivers will still take their chances. “Your hardcore people will still go out there. They’re still going to drink and they’re still going to drive, no matter what,” Mochen said.

In a ride along Thursday afternoon, Mochen described what deputies will be looking for.

“I’m looking for people who are cutting in. I’m looking for people who are tailgating….And of course if you see someone swerving or you see someone doing 20 in a 45, I mean, that’s a clue,” Mochen said.

Martin County resident, Phillip Harvey, says he lost his son as a result of someone drinking and getting behind the wheel in Palm City.

Authorities arrested John White, accused of driving drunk and hitting the car Harvey’s son was driving at the intersection of Mapp Rd. and Martin Downs Blvd. Phillip Harvey Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene in February.

“I’m a victim now. I really do understand how DUI can affect a family’s life,” Harvey said.

Harvey says his son should be celebrating with all of their family this weekend.

“My son would still be here getting ready to celebrate, preparing to have fun with his nieces and nephews and cousins doing the fireworks,” Harvey explained.

Harvey hopes his loss will encourage someone to think twice before drinking and driving this weekend, being arrested, or worse- cause a deadly crash.

"Do not drink, get intoxicated, and drive that car," said Harvey.

The saturation starts Thursday and runs through Sunday.