As communities throughout King, Snohomish and Pierce counties bring out their sombreros and Mariachi guitars in anticipation of the coming Cinco de Mayo weekend, law enforcement is making its own plans.
Beginning on Saturday, May 4, local, county and state police in the three counties will begin intercepting fiesta-goers who get behind the wheel after too many margaritas or beers.
Officers will be especially targeting roads that are at high risk for impaired driving crashes in Tacoma, Puyallup, Seattle, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kent, Auburn, Renton, Burien, Seatac, Lynnwood, Marysville, and Everett. A Mobile Impaired Driving Unit operated by the Washington State Patrol will be set up in Kent to enable officers to transfer the custody of their arrestees to the unit’s troopers so arresting officers can quickly resume their hunt for impaired drivers.
“Although Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated in Mexico, it has become an unofficial drinking holiday in the United States. Special pricing on drinks, taco-eating contests, and dance bands galore will draw many to restaurants and bars Saturday night”, said John Cheesman, Chief of the Fircrest Police Department and chairman of the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force.
To curb the amount of alcohol drinking drivers might consume, law enforcement and Liquor Control Board officers working with the Home Safe Bar Program in the three counties will visit bars to remind patrons and servers about the state’s alcohol laws. The officer team in Pierce County will be accompanied family members whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver.
To avoid being arrested, customers will be encouraged to pick up Click-it-to-ride cards at the participating establishments listed below. The cards can be scanned quickly by smart phone users to dial a local taxi.
• Azteca Restaurants in Pierce, King and Snohomish Counties
• Mazatlan Restaurants in Pierce, King and Snohomish Counties
• Taqueria el Rinconsito in Pierce and King Counties
• Brouwer’s Café, (Seattle)
• LTD Bar and Grill (Seattle)
• Tapatio (Bellevue)
• La Cocina del Puerco (Bellevue)
• Rio Blanco Family Mexican (Auburn)
• Ixtapa (Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Monroe, Snohomish)
• El Paraiso (Everett, Silver Lake)
• La Palmera (Everett, Mill Creek)
These efforts to keep the roads safe have the support of Hispanic organizations, including El Centro de la Raza, Consejo Counseling and Referral Services, and El Siete Dias.
The Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force is administered by Pierce County Community Connections. The Snohomish County Human Services Department administers the Snohomish County Human Services and similar King County task forces are administered by the Kent Police Department and Public Health – Seattle and King County. All are funded by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.