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State Police Report Record Number Of DUI Arrests In Kanawha County This Month

Reported by: Send eMail Leslie Rubin
Reported: Jun. 23, 2014 5:55 PM EDT
Updated: Jun. 24, 2014 9:56 AM EDT
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Drugged Driving
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Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

Just three weeks into June, West Virginia State Police are reporting a record number of driving under the influence arrests in Kanawha County, and many do not involve alcohol.

Thirty-two people have been arrested by State Police for DUI since June 1 in Kanawha County. Many of those were suspected of drugged driving.

When Sgt. Larry O'Bryan hits the road in eastern Kanawha County, he is never sure what he will run into but lately, he said it's a lot of the same story.

"Heroin is now an epidemic in eastern Kanawha County," O'Bryan said. "We're seeing a lot of individuals even shooting up while they're driving."

In the last 23 days, State Police alone have arrested 32 people for DUI in Kanawha County. Eleven of those arrests involved drugs. Troopers said whether it's heroin, pills, or marijuana, they see a lot of impaired drivers.

"We're seeing children transported in vehicles while mom's high," he said.

Jennilea Meadows, 31, of Belle was arrested on charges of DUI with child endangerment and simple possession after police said she was driving around high with an 11-year-old in the car. They said they found a spoon, and hypodermic needle loaded with Roxycodone in her pocket.

O'Bryan said some arrests are from people who have legitimate prescriptions, but operating the car under the influence will still land you a DUI.

"You can be just as high, just as impaired under a prescription that you're taking lawfully. However, the unlawful act is operating the vehicle on the roadway," O'Bryan said.

In efforts to crack down on the problem, State Police have been putting troopers through a course to familiarize them with the symptoms of drugged driving. They also are now able to compel blood samples from those suspected of being under the influence.

"Much like if you refuse to take a breathalizer test, you'll lose your driver's license. If you'll refuse to take a blood test, you'll also lose your driver's license in the state of West Virginia now," O'Bryan said.



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