COLORADO SPRINGS — The Kansas City Chiefs are the Super Bowl champions, with many people celebrating their win on Sunday night. However, what's most important after the big game is making sure everyone gets a safe ride home. News5 went on a ride along with a Colorado Springs Police Officer, who said they are always on the look out for impaired driving, but they were on high alert all weekend.
It was part of the Colorado Department of Transportation's The Heat Is On Super Bowl Weekend DUI enforcement, which lasted from January 31 to February 3. Last year over this time period, officers arrested 315 people across the state for impaired driving.
Officer Alex Falcon with the Colorado Springs Police Department said the size of El Paso County can be problematic, because many people will head downtown and still think they can make the trip back home after a few drinks. "A large amount of people are coming in to visit those areas, and kind of live far away from the downtown area. So, it's certainly picked up to the point where people think it's okay to drive when they're buzzed," said Officer Falcon, who has been with the department since 2018.
News5 also spoke with a Colorado Springs local, Andrew Tanel, who said his group of friends picked a designated driver to get them home after the game. Tanel also said that around three years ago, his older sister was involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. Luckily, his sister was not seriously injured. "We don't want to hear about anyone getting hurt by a drunk driver, and it's just hard to see it in your own family," said Tanel.
CDOT reported 20 people died last year in El Paso County because of impaired driving, which was the second highest number of any county in the entire state. "If you're going to drink, just don't drive. It's not worth it. It's not just your life, but the life of everybody else that's out there," said Officer Falcon.
A DUI arrest can lead to jail time, problems with a driver's license, and could cost thousands of dollars. CDOT's Winter Blitz DUI enforcement period wrapped up recently, and in that ten day period, more than 500 people were arrested.