37 DUI arrests reported over holiday weekend in Merced County

Merced County law enforcement agencies made 37 DUI arrests over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, compared to 38 DUI arrests reported during the same period last year, according to data released by law enforcement officials Wednesday.

From 12:01 a.m. Friday through midnight on Monday, officers representing Merced, Los Banos, Livingston, Gustine, Atwater and the California Highway Patrol focused on arresting drunk drivers countywide.

The operation included a sobriety checkpoint in Los Banos, along with eight special DUI saturation patrols in various parts of the county and officers on routine patrol, according to Merced Police Sgt. Jay Struble.

The holiday weekend didn't end without one alleged DUI-related injury. Atwater police say Robert Fisher, 24, of Merced, was driving in the center left turn lane in the 2200 block of Avenue 2 when he struck a 47-year-old woman who was walking.

The victim complained of pain, but is expected to survive. She was taken to Mercy Medical Center Merced and treated. Fisher failed a field sobriety test, according to Detective Armando Echevarria.

Fisher was booked into the Merced County Jail, where he remains in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Statewide, the CHP reported 1,562 DUI arrests over the holiday weekend in their jurisdiction, nearly 8 percent more than the 1,438 arrests last year.

Vehicle fatalities were up 32 percent statewide, with 34 people killed (20 in CHP jurisdiction, 14 in cities) compared with 23 killed last year (14 in CHP jurisdiction, nine in cities).

-- Sun-Star staff