Union Township police plan Thanksgiving Eve DWI crackdown

Union Township police will be out in force on Thanksgiving Eve in a targeted DWI crackdown, a short distance from where a firefighter riding his motorcycle to work was killed by a drunk driver last month.

Members of the township’s D.W.I. Task Force will operate a checkpoint in memory of 56-year-old New York City firefighter John Monteverde (photo, above) “and all the lives lost to DWI,” Lt. Robert J. Christie, supervisor of the department’s Traffic Bureau, said.

The checkpoint will be located on Morris Avenue just east of Route 22 beginning at 11 p.m. next Wednesday and continuing until 4 a.m. on Thanksgiving.

While looking for violators, the task force will also distribute pamphlets that explain the purpose of the checkpoint and the severe penalties for driving while intoxicated.

“This department recognizes the magnitude of the drunken-driving problem and has a strong interest in deterring and detecting intoxicated motorists,” Christie said in a release. “This department will put forth a sincere effort to eradicate it, thereby ensuring safe roadways for the motoring public.

“There’s simply no excuse to drink and drive,” they added. “The decision to get behind the wheel after drinking can change not just your own life  but the life of your family, friends and everyone who is on the road with you.”

Even one drink can impair driving and create a potentially deadly situation known as “buzzed driving,” the lieutenant noted.

Thanksgiving Eve is a well-known night for both heavy partying and traffic on American’s roadways.

The U.S. Division of Highway Traffic Safety urges motorists who drink to:

  • Take mass transit, a taxi or ask a friend to take you home;
  • Spend the night rather than get behind the wheel;
  • Report impaired drivers to law enforcement by dialing  #77;
  • Always buckle up regardless of your seating position;
  • If you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober family member or friend provide you a ride.

Monteverde, a 31-year firefighter, was on his way to work early the morning of Oct. 11 when he was thrown from his 2004 Suzuki after it collided at Vivian Terrace and North Avenue with a sedan driven by a 24-year-old man whose blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit after a night of drinking, police said.