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ENFORCEMENT RFC, INS OCT 1
Convictions From Stiffer Law
BY ERIC CARLSON
Remember Otis Campbell of
Mayberry, the lovable town drunk
and habitual tenant of Sheriff Andy
Unfortunately, a lot of people still
cling to the image of the stumbling,
slurring Otis when they think of what
used to be known as "drunk driving."
Nowadays it's called "driving
while impaired." And beginning at
one minute after midnight Friday
morning, anyone who doesn't know
the difference is likely to learn a
very hard lesson.
"You don't have to be like Otis to
have your driving impaired by alco
hol. People need to get that idea out
of their heads," said Sgt. Anthony
Midgett, the N.C. Highway Patrol
supervisor for Brunswick County. "
Nobody is saying you have to be
drunk. You start losing a lot of judg
ment and motor skills long before
you get to that point."
Under a new state law that be
comes effective Oct. 1, the threshold
at which a driver is considered ille
gaily impaired by alcohol will he
lowered from a blood alcohol con
tent of .10 to a level of .08. The
change is expected to result in a
marked increase in the number of
convictions for driving while im
It's a change being applauded by
law enforcement agencies through
out the state who say it has been dif
ficult to get convictions for DWI
charges when offenders register
blood alcohol levels on or near the
legal threshold, despite mounting
evidence that a driver with a BAC of
.10 is incapable of operating a vehi
The new law means that if a dri
ver registers a blood alcohol level of
.08. that evidence alone will be suf
ficient for a conviction. The change
is expected to result in more arrests
and more convictions because, un
der the old law, drivers who blew a
.09 or .08 were often released with a
"We welcome the change." said
Midgett. "We believe that alcohol
"This .08 BAC law will have a
positive impact on our efforts
to reduce drunk driving. "
? R.A. Barefoot, N.C. Highway Patrol Commander
consumption at any level has no
place in the operation of a motor ve
hicle. There are studies that indicate
that impairment actually starts at a
level of .03."
Midgett said there will he no
"grace period" before the new level
is enforced. No warnings will be is
sued to drivers whose BAC falls be
tween the old and new levels.
"If I stop you at one minute after
midnight, you will be charged under
the new law," Midgett said.
Troopers across the state plan to
step up their efforts to catch im
paired drivers as soon as the new
law takes effect, according to N.C.
Highway Patrol Commander Col.
R.A. Barefoot. Beginning Oct. 1. the
highway patrol will increase the
number of checkpoints where dri
vers are routinely snipped and
screened for impairment.
"This .08 BAC law will have a
positive impact on our efforts to re
duce drunk driving," Barefoot said.
"Initially, the new law will probably
result in more arrests because some
borderline offenders have gotten off
in the past. In the future, we hope
the new law will reduce the number
of offenses and result in safer high
North Carolina is the 10th state to
*r. ???= *" -
Lining Up Two By Two
STAFF PHOTO BY LYNN CARLSON
w i /
ca/ and even ferret owners queue up Saturday to have their pets vaccinated against rabies at Brunswick Animal Hospital in Supply.
More than 1,000 animals were protected against the disease at four rabies clinics throughout Brunswick County. Authorities said public
awareness was heightened by the news last week that two raccoons in the Ash area tested positive for the disease. The story is on Page l-A.
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enact the lower .08 Mood alcohol
limit. California experienced a 12
percent decline in highway fatalities
in 1990 following enactment of the
Joe Parker, director of the gover
nor's highway safety programs esti
mates that if the new law reduces
North Carolinas alcohol-related fa
talities by 10 percetn, it would save
54 lives and result in some 1.3(H)
fewer traffic accidents. Last year
534 people were killed in North
Carolina in crashes involving drivers
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Parker refuses to call alcohol-re
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"Driving while impaired is a
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of harmful conduct. But it is certain
ly not an accident."
Whiteville Woman Charged With
Possessing Stolen Sample Drugs
A routine drunken driving stop by
a Sunset Beach police officer Sun
day night resulted in the arrest of a
Whiteville woman on charges of
possessing stolen prescription drug
Senior Patrol Officer Anna Dosio
charged 36-year-old Sue Ellen
Chandler of Whiteville with driving
while impaired, possessing stolen
goods and possessing prescription
medications without a valid pre
scription. Police Chief J.B. Buell
"The suspect threw a beer can out
the window right in front of Officer
Dosio," Buell said. "She was pulled
over just past the Food Lion on N.C.
904 and given a roadside sobriety
test, then was taken to the jail in
Bolivia for a breathalyzer test."
In the process of checking the car
before it was towed, Dosio found a
trash bag under the seat containing
38 sample bottles of Naprosen and
Anaprox, non-narcotic anti-inflam
matory drugs used to treat such ail
ments as back aches and arthritis,
"The suspect said they had been
given to her by doctors she worked
for, but when the doctors were con
tacted, they said no." Buell said a
spokesman for the Wilmington
Orthopedic Group, where Chandler
had once worked, estimated the val
ue of the medicines at $700.
Buell said Chandler was free
Sunday after making bond of $500.
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