By Wyatt Goolsby
West Texans were ready to ring in the New Year, but police on Wednesday said they were keeping their eyes on the road for drunk drivers.
Many West Texans celebrated in houses or went to bars. However, officers said it's what happens after the night is over that can be the most dangerous. That's why both police and taxi cab services said Wednesday they would be working late into the morning hours to help cut down on drunk driving.
"New Years is chaos. I mean, the phones are continuously ringing and people are needing to be picked up taken to the bar," Eugenie Turner, a driver with A-1 Taxi Cab Service in Midland, said.
Turner said there's no way around it, New Years is a busy night. She has been a driver for six years, and said each New Years, she and other drivers take hundreds of West Texans home after a late night of partying.
"As soon as midnight hits and everybody's done celebrating, and wished everybody a Happy New Year, they usually start calling," Turner explained. "Because they really don't want to drive and get a DWI."
Police in both Midland and Odessa told NewsWest 9 they had officers watching specifically for drunk drivers. However, they said you don't have to be drunk to get pulled over.
"For some people it doesn't take a whole lot [to become intoxicated]," Corporal Sherrie Carruth, with the Odessa Police Department, said. "Like for me, it can take two to three [drinks], and I'm not good from behind the wheel. I know my limit."
Carruth said taking responsiblity for yourself is key. In addition, officers said there may be one big factor on their side this year.
"Fortunately, New Year's in falling on a work week - Thursday. So Friday, that means a lot of businesses are going to be opening back up, so a lot of people have to go to work," Carruth explained. "So, that's probably going to cut down on a whole lot of partying that would normally take place, and a lot of drinking that would normally take place."
For those who drank Wednesday night, however, police and cab services said there are plenty of options available.
"We're here for the people," Turner said. "The people that are out, are out drinking and having a good time, have to get home safe. That's the main thing - to start off the new year alive."
Police said other options include designated drivers, taxi cabs, or just spending the night at a friends' house. On a side note, many of the cab drivers said they'll stay busy New Years night until about 4 or 5 in the morning.