Seeking a safe Spring Break: Valley launches first Tri-Coun

PORT ISABEL — Beginning next weekend, the drive toward the Island is expected to be filled with eager Spring Breakers and bumper to bumper traffic.

As the countdown continues winding down, local and state law enforcement are making preparations to combat drinking and driving to ensure everyone has a safe Spring Break this year.

Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz in partnership with Hidalgo County DA Ricardo Rodriguez and Willacy County DA Annette Hinojosa, launched the Valley’s first tri-county “Drive Safe, Not Drunk” campaign Friday during a press conference in Port Isabel with local police officers, state troopers and Texas Department of Public Safety personnel in attendance.

Texas State Trooper Miguel Alvarez spoke during the conference on behalf of his sister, aunt, uncle and niece who died six years ago in a car accident on Highway 100 in Los Fresnos.

“I can still remember that day like it was yesterday, June 30, 2013. I received a call from my grandmother and the first thing I heard when I answered was her crying,” Alvarez said. “My family was on their way to the Island and their trip was cut short due to a drunk driver who hit them head-on.”

Alvarez said he feels blessed to have become a state trooper and help prevent other families from going through what he did.

“Nobody is saying you cannot drink, but if you do, please make arrangements to get home safely,” Alvarez said.

According to Cameron County administration personnel, tens of thousands of Spring Breakers are expected to drive through Willacy, Hidalgo and Cameron counties this Spring Break.

Saenz said through this campaign, the district attorneys hope for and envision a future where there aren’t any deaths or accidents caused by drunken driving.

While law enforcement will ramp up its patrolling efforts during Spring Break, Cameron County officials expect roads will become “a little more dangerous,” and are encouraging people to “drive defensively.”

Spring Breakers are encouraged to create a plan to avoid driving impaired to save lives and avoid any tragedies.

“Come to the Island and have a great time while being safe,” Saenz said. “But, the bottom line is, if you are going to drink and if you’re going to drive, then you’re going to be arrested.”

According to the Cameron County administration personnel, getting behind the wheel after having just one drink can impair a motorist’s judgment and reaction time, which results in accidents.

“The last thing you want to see is the blue and red lights behind you, but if they need to do it, they’re going to do it,” Hinojosa said. “We urge everyone to make decisions prior to taking that first drink and make a plan.”