A DUI emphasis patrol will be in Puyallup this weekend in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day revelers.
Additional officers will be out in the city starting at 9:30 p.m. Saturday (March 12) to ensure drivers impaired by alcohol or marijuana aren’t getting behind the wheel.
Twelve agencies are participating in the patrol, which is being dedicated to a pastor killed two years ago by a driver under the influence of pot.
A mobile arrest station will be set up near the 300 block of South Meridian, where officers will conduct blood draws on suspected drunken drivers and hand out fliers in memory of Eric Renz.
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Renz, 66, was killed Nov. 24, 2014, after a 19-year-old Buckley woman ran a stop sign near the Washington State Fairgrounds and hit Renz as he pedaled his bicycle home. Renz died about two weeks later.
A blood draw showed the driver, Kallie James, had 2.3 nanograms of active THC per liter of blood in her system four hours after the collision. Although that is under the legal limit for adults, James was underage at the time. She was sentenced to seven years in prison.
As part of this weekend’s emphasis, law enforcement will be educating the public that it’s illegal to drive with 5 or more nanograms of THC even if the driver has a medical marijuana prescription.
Officials with the Tacoma-Pierce County DUI task force’s Home Safe Bar Team will visit drinking establishments Saturday night to speak with managers and servers about alcohol laws. The team will visit each bar that served an intoxicated driver who is arrested.
Officers from Fife, Bonney Lake, Sumner, Tacoma, Fircrest, Lakewood, Steilacoom, DuPont and Puyallup will participate in the emphasis patrol, along with the Sheriff’s Department, the Washington State Patrol and the state Liquor and Cannabis Board.
In Renz’s honor, a roadside sign will be installed at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the northwest corner of Ninth Avenue SW and Fourth Street SW.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653