EDINBURG — The county is holding its fourth annual “No Refusal” initiative over Labor Day weekend to crack down on drunk driving, the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
Anyone suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the five-day campaign, which runs from Thursday through Monday, will be subject to a search warrant if they refuse to provide a breath or blood sample.
“During the No Refusal Labor Day Weekend campaign, all Hidalgo County law enforcement agencies will provide more resources and manpower on the road … judges will be available to review search warrants and nurses will be ready to draw blood,” Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. said.
During last year’s campaign, 113 people were arrested on driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated charges, according to Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra. Twenty-eight of those arrests were made by sheriff’s deputies, the sheriff noted, and six of those refused a breath sample, resulting in a warrant.
Sheriff’s deputies, constables and police officers from all of the counties’ municipalities will be assisted by troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety during the campaign.
“I’m happy to say that in the three years prior that we’ve had this program we have had zero fatalities and we have had zero intoxication assaults,” Guerra said, adding, “We’re not telling you not to go out and have a good time, we’re just telling you to have a plan and be responsible.”
Edinburg Police Chief David White said his agency expects to surpass the 313 DWI arrests it had last year by the close of 2018. Since January of this year, Edinburg police alone have made 198 such arrests and have investigated 18 accidents involving alcohol, most recently an Aug. 9 head-on collision that left three people and “three generations of one family dead.”
“Everyone needs to understand that if you get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs it’s no different than getting a gun and loading it and getting it ready to be fired,” Rodriguez said. “… When you get in that vehicle you’re in a loaded gun, and that loaded gun is ready to go off.”