One sheriff’s office in the Eastern Panhandle has been named the top in the state for arresting drivers under the influence.
“Try and monitor traffic here. See if there are any speeders coming along,” said Deputy Sheriff William Wilhelm.
Deputy Sheriff William Wilhem is one of about 40 in the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office that was recently named number one in the state for arresting impaired drivers.
“A lot of the time it’s just someone trying to go home. But, you never really know until you talk to the person,” said Deputy Sheriff William Wilhelm.
This year alone, the department has made about 300 impaired driver arrests. As it turns out, most of it is actually not alcohol related.
“Some of these drivers are ones that have overdosed on heroin, fentanyl,” said Sheriff Pete Dougherty.
In the last year, the sheriff’s office is up about 30 percent for DUI arrests. For drugs, it has continued to increase. And Sheriff Dougherty–who has been at the department for five years–says the number of DUI related arrests has increased every year since he’s been there. He says part of the reason for the success is due to his team.
“I have one deputy that has made about 25 or 28 arrests and 23 or 24 of them are drug related,” said Sheriff Pete Dougherty.
Sheriff Dougherty also says part of it is due to the significant opioid crisis in West Virginia, which is an important reminder especially during this time of year.
“Either stay where you are. Find an alternate route to get home. An alternate way to get home. Get a cab or taxi or have a designated driver,” said Sheriff Pete Dougherty.
Sheriff Dougherty says other distracted driving factors include texting and talking, or eating while driving.