Country Jam DUI arrests at 5-year high

For a year when law enforcement officials perceived fewer Jammers, drunken-driving arrests by the Colorado State Patrol during the four-day Country Jam festival in Mack hit a five-year high for the event, according to figures released Monday.

The figures, distributed in a press release by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, show 56 DUI arrests recorded by State Patrol, which was 23 more than 2008.

The agency recorded 43 in 2005, which is the second-highest total over the past five years.

Country Jam ended Sunday.

“No DUI crashes this year, and that’s the most important thing to me,” said State Patrol Capt. Edward Clark.

Clark said he attributes this year’s jump in arrests to a piece of equipment on loan from the Weld County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the work of nine troopers brought in from other areas of the state specifically to work this year’s festival.

“These are guys we consider specializing in DUI enforcement,” Clark said.

At a “BAC van” on loan from Weld County, suspected drunken drivers submitted to breath or blood tests. Offenders were issued a summons and released to sober parties for rides home.

That helped troopers get back on the road more quickly.

Clark said figures announced by Country Jam indicated attendance overall was off 25 percent from previous years.

“We took our own aerial photos and were shocked by the fewer numbers of campers in the campground,” Clark said.

Clark said his office normally has 18 troopers but has been reduced to 12 because of the state budget crisis.


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