Police report 17 DUI arrests; agencies plan 'maximum enforcement'

Merced-area law enforcement agencies have arrested 17 people on suspicion of drunken driving since Friday, Dec. 16, when their winter anti-DUI campaign began. During the same period in 2010, 42 arrests were reported in Merced County.

The arrests included Aldo Zucconi, 55, of Merced, who allegedly drove his truck into a home in the 1100 block of Sentinel Court Thursday night. Police say Zucconi drove his 2009 Chevrolet pickup into the home's garage, causing major damage. No injuries were reported. Firefighters who responded to the accident told police they found Zucconi "extremely intoxicated" in the vehicle.After officers took a blood sample, Zucconi was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, police said. He was booked into Merced County Jail. Zucconi has a prior conviction for driving under the influence in 2009, police said.

Merced-area agencies will hokd extra patrols tonight in the cities of Atwater, Livingston, Merced and Los Banos. Additionally, the California Highway Patrol's "maximum enforcement period" begins at midnight, in which all available officers are scheduled to be deployed on Merced County's highways.

All regularly scheduled traffic and patrol officers will focus efforts on stopping and arresting drunken driving. Agencies are also planning to stage license checkpoints and roving DUI patrols throughout the region.

-- Posted by Brandon Bowers