Drunk Driving Arrests in Alabama County Spike During Pandemic

October 21, 2020

A spike in drunk driving cases in an Alabama county has led to speculation that the stresses associated with the coronavirus pandemic may be behind the increase.

Morgan County sheriff’s spokesman Mike Swafford said his department made 43 DUI arrests in the first nine months of 2019. This year the total is 66 through Sept. 30, an increase of almost 54%.

Swafford tells The Decatur Daily that sheriff’s officials believe the pandemic is a factor.

“People are stressed more,” he said. “We’re seeing more cases of domestic violence, people arguing with their neighbors that we attribute to the stress of everyday living during this pandemic.”

But there has also been an increase in patrols under Sheriff Ron Puckett. And, another likely factor, he said, is the closure of two bridges on a U.S. highway that created a 16-mile detour.

Another state jurisdiction also is seeing an increase in DUI cases compared to other localities.

Town Creek Police Chief Jerry Garrett believes the pandemic is behind the rise his department has seen in recent months. The police force had 19 DUI arrests from March 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2019, but the total jumped to 27 for the same period in this year.

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