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Caught on Camera: Drunk drivers behaving badly

12:48 PM, Jan 1, 2013   |    comments
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TAMPA, Fla. -- It's video that has everyone talking -- drunk drivers busted for DUI. The dash-cam from a patrol cruiser shows one man so intoxicated that he falls over and slams his skull into a parking sign. The sound is so loud and jarring that it takes anyone aback who watches it.

Another video clip shows a man who can't even touch his own nose while standing in front of the police car. He is seen tilting his head back, and when he does, he slowly falls to the ground as a police officer reaches for him.

The drunk drivers were caught on camera, arrested and convicted. Now, Tampa police are using social media to reach out to other drivers to prove a point.

Behave like this, and you'll go one place fast. JAIL.

And, what better way to reach out and make a statement than to use powerful video?

"You watch these videos and almost think it's comical, like it's done by a comedian, but then you realize it's real life. People actually behave like this," said Tampa Police Sgt. Ray Fernandez. "It's sad."

He adds, "It's this simple, don't drink and drive. You can take a $50 cab ride or a $10,000 ride in the back of my car!"

Sgt. Fernandez has been working DUI cases for nearly two decades. He has a passion for it. He loves what he does and enjoys inspiring the men and women he works with each day. "You can save lives," he admitted. "You can save people."

Sgt. Fernandez and his team are out in full force tonight, patrolling for DUI drivers. Extra patrols have been called in for New Year's Eve. Sgt. Fernandez said he feels fortunate that his agency received a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation.

Tampa ranks number two statewide for alcohol related crashes, averaging 250 each year. Also, it's number three for traffic fatalities, with an average of 10-12.

To help increase patrols around the Holidays, FDOT awarded Tampa Police a grant of $127,166. It'll place roughly 9-10 DUI officers on the streets every night, 3-4 more than usual.

Police will be targeting specific locations, such as Ybor City and Downtown Tampa, along with South Tampa. The ramped-up enforcement will continue into 2013. TPD does not do checkpoints; rather, the agency focuses on saturation in certain areas.

"It works better," said Tampa Police spokeswoman Andrea Davis. "It's more effective."

"We're going to be out there in force this weekend and throughout the New Year and throughout the year. We're looking at every weekend, Thursday, Friday, Saturdays, having extras patrols out there," said Sgt. Fernandez.

The grant runs through October of next year. Tampa Police will have to re-apply for it again at that time

WTSP

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