DWI Dangers, Part II

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

"I don't go out very often, that I don't find one or two," Lieutenant Brian Bogart with the Midland Police Department, said.

It's a hard reality in the Permian Basin.

"What's sad is that statistically we only catch a small portion of them," Bogart said. "Probably 1 in 200 or 400 is what is actually caught."

"One of my favorite areas is around Midkiff and Wall, because within a 2-3 block area there are 7 bars," he said. "You can work that intersection there and a large number will come through there."

Wall Street in Downtown Midland is a huge DWI zone and officers find lots of drunk drivers at some of it's biggest intersections including Midkiff and Wall and Williams and Wall.

Lt. Bogart watches drivers closely at these intersections looking for signs of intoxication.

"There are so many things for them to mess up if they're intoxicated," Bogart said. "They turn from the wrong lanes, they stop too far forward, they stop too far back."

And it didn't take long to find one.

Missouri and A Street and Industrial are other hotspots to pay attention to.

Officers say, drivers who have been drinking often think if they can avoid these major intersections, they won't catch a cop's eye, wrong.

"You look for vehicles that come out, and start taking the backroads," Bogart said. "You'll see them come down one side road then go over and go down another side road. Sometimes they'll live down there, but a lot of times if they go from one major road to another by taking a side road they're avoiding the police or they think they are. Sometimes they're just attracting our attention."

Police say they used to catch DWI's on the roads in between Midland and Odessa, but lately the problem seems to be inside the city limits.

The Odessa police department says, there's no safe place.

"They happen all over the place," Odessa Police Officer Kevin Chance, said. "There's not really one specific spot. A few problem areas are around Crane and Clemens on the weekends, because there are a lot of juveniles that go down there and hang around there. They like to race their cars and drink."

The biggest hotspot in Odessa is along 42nd Street and around its intersections like Grandview and Parkway.

"It can happen anywhere," Chance said. "Any part of town, even neighborhoods with people leaving a barbeque."

Odessa officers say it's hard to keep up with all the DWI's.

"We're always answering disturbance calls and things like that, that time of night," Chance said.

Stop DWI, Inc. is an organization committed to reducing DWI's and underage drinking. It's a program that derived from one family's personal experience.

"The man that was responsible for the death of our son, Joseph, was on probation," Charles Hodges with Stop DWI, said. "He had an argument at a topless bar with a friend over in Odessa, got in his car and drove drunk."

"Before I got involved with this, I never gave it a second thought, and I was probably in the majority in that," Hodges said. "But having it happen, you do become involved."