HOUSTON (FOX 26) - There’s a new effort to keep alcohol out of the hands of kids and to get drunk drivers off the road. It's a no-refusal weekend like you've never seen before.
It’s hard to believe Harris County has led the country in drunk driving related deaths for 16 years in a row. To help stop that, now Houston police and officers countywide will be going after not only drunk drivers but also the people who supply them.
“I’m tired of standing over the bodies of dead babies and other dead people in this county. I’m tired of it,” says Harris County District Attorney’s Office Chief Of Vehicular Crimes Sean Teare.
After leading the country in drunk driving fatalities for nearly two decades, ending that horrific streak has become personal for Teare. “Every time my phone rings at 3:00 in the morning and I have to go out to one of these I start to think about how I can stop it,” Teare says.
Teare says one possible way is a no-refusal weekend with a twist. “We’re going to have prosecutors on-site writing search warrants. We’re going to have magistrates there to sign the warrants. We’re going to have nurses there to take the blood.” They will all work together with TABC, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to go after intoxicated drivers, establishments serving alcohol after 2 a.m. and the stores, servers, restaurants, retail clerks and anyone else who supplied alcohol to the arrested drunk drivers.
”We will take whatever steps necessary to hold those retailers accountable for those illegal sales that take place here in Harris County,” explains Lt. Joe Cavazos with TABC.
It’s been less than a month since Atascocita High School 16-year-olds Chloe Robison and Salma Gomez were killed and Kingwood High School student Jaggar Smith was charged after cops say Smith was driving drunk. Just as it's expected to happen during the next two no-refusal weekends, the store clerk in that case Gumaro Campos accused of selling wine to the 17-year-old, was also arrested.
“We have got to continue to find new ways to combat this because year in and year out Harris County leads the nation in deaths related to drunk driving,” says Teare.
The no-refusal crackdown days will run this weekend, next weekend and on Labor Day.