WSP: DUI crashes are tying up Tri-Cities resources - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

WSP: DUI crashes are tying up Tri-Cities resources

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Woman beats DUI rap with claim her body brews alcohol Woman beats DUI rap with claim her body brews alcohol

KENNEWICK, WA - State troopers in the Tri-Cities have been busy with a lot of DUI crashes in the last few years. Trooper Chris Thorson said it has been tough. There were 823 crashes from January first to the end of July, 52 of those were DUI-related. That same time last year, there were 706 crashes and 31 were DUI's. That's a more than 60% increase in DUI crashes.

Trooper Thorson said just one of those DUI crashes can tie up resources for four hours or more. That takes troopers off the road who would otherwise be keeping the rest of us safe. Thorson said the Washington State Patrol really wants to get the message out to people to not drive under any influence, either drugs or alcohol.

"Anytime that someone gets in a collision either under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the potential there for a fatality is increased. A lot of these people that are driving drunk or stoned get in collisions at high speeds, like the one at the Richland Y last Sunday," said Thorson.

The man driving that car near the Steptoe Roundabout was reportedly going over 100 miles-per-hour. He has been charged with DUI and possession of methamphetamine. 

Here is what is interesting; While the number of those crashes has gone up, DUI arrests are actually down from last year. But what influence? How many were alcohol-related and how many were drugs? WSP's violation reports show there were 339 DUI arrests in the Tri-Cities in an eight-month span in 2015. This year during the same time period, there have been 272. However, out of those hundreds of arrests only 12 were drug-related charges in 2015 and only 5 were drugs this year.

Troopers say if you see something unusual on the road, it is always best to call dispatch or 911 just in case.