East Texas authorities look to crack down on DWIs

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - It only takes a few alcoholic drinks to lead to an accident. Beer distributors don't like this picture.

"Drunk drivers are not good for the industry, in addition to being very dangerous out on the road," said Scott Goodrich, branch manager of Anheuser Busch branch manager.

A state of intoxication may be overwhelming at the scene,

Yet by the time prosecutors receive the DWI case all the evidence has disappeared.

"A prosecutor can only deal with the evidence presented to them," said Paige Pattillo, assistant county attorney for Nacogdoches County.

More violators are refusing to take breath tests. The next step is to enforce blood search warrants.

"There's more hoops that have to be jumped, more obstacles to cross, but if it's done legally, it's something case law allows in the state of Texas," said County Attorney John Fleming.

New laws make blood testing mandatory when there's a child passenger, prior convictions or when there's even the most minor of injuries. Pattillo told officers if the suspect bleeds, it pleas.

"The blood evidence, what's great about that is you get to see everything that's in their system," Pattillo said. "The only thing a breath test allows is alcohol, so somebody could say be at a .10 level, but then if you got blood and you notice that they have drugs combined with that alcohol, they could be up to a .2 or up to a .25."

Law enforcement in Angelina County tell us about 90 percent of the DWI stops they make are followed up with blood tests. In Nacogdoches, not so much, except for no-refusal weekends, when all suspected intoxicated drivers must supply a breath or blood sample. The goal is to make the testing common practice the rest of the time.

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