HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This year, Honolulu police are on pace to exceed the number of DUI arrests they made in 2009. But it's still been a deadly year on Oahu's roads. The number of traffic fatalities is also up.
Under the dark cloud of an alleged overtime scam involving members of its Traffic Division's DUI team, HPD has been able to continue cracking down on drunken driving by assigning other officers to that unit and having each patrol district do its own enforcement.
Alcoholic bottles could be seen at the site of a violent crash Sunday. A 21-year-old Aiea man with dreams of joining the military was killed.
"We had a couple of beers," Adonte Murry, victim's brother and crash survivor, said on Monday. "But I don't think, honestly, to be honest, none of us three was actually drunk in the back seat."
Investigators suspect their driver, Brittany Poole, 23, was under the influence of alcohol and possibly drugs.
With the holiday season upon us, police are concerned there could be more tragedies like this one.
"We would like the season to be for everyone to not only be thankful for what they have, but make this season remembered for what they have and what they keep rather than what they lose," Maj. Thomas Nitta, Honolulu Police Department, said.
So far this year, Honolulu police have made about 3,900 DUI arrests. At this rate, they are expected to surpass the 2009 total of 4,023 DUI arrests.
"It's a continuous effort and it's not only enforcement," Nitta said. "We need to make the public aware of the problem of drunken driving."
Fifty-four people have died in traffic crashes on Oahu this year. Police say at least 18 of those deadly crashes involved alcohol.
Fifty-four is just one fatality shy of the total for 2009, with a traditionally dangerous month still ahead.
"The numbers sometimes might not show it, to show the amount of alcohol-related fatalities," Nitta said. "But, you know, one fatality is too much."
Police say they have set up 280 DUI roadblocks so far this year. They receive federal funding for DUI enforcement and say they have no plans to ease up, especially this holiday season.
Investigators don't know if alcohol was involved in Sunday's deadly pedestrian crash near Blaisdell Center because the driver fled the scene. Police are once again asking the public to be on the lookout for a dark-colored sedan with extensive front-end damage.