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Darien Police conduct DUI checkpoint, arrest 3

Published 1:04 am, Thursday, March 25, 2010

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  • Darien Police, in conjunction with Stamford Police, conducted a DUI stop on East Main Street in Stamford. The checkpoint began at 11 p.m. Friday and continued through the early morning hours. Photo: Maggie Gordon / Darien News
    Darien Police, in conjunction with Stamford Police, conducted a DUI stop on East Main Street in Stamford. The checkpoint began at 11 p.m. Friday and continued through the early morning hours. Photo: Maggie Gordon

 

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The Darien Police Department conducted a DUI Checkpoint on Friday night at 943 E. Main St. in Stamford, about a mile past the Darien line. The checkpoint was operated in conjunction with the Stamford Police Department, and is the first joint sobriety checkpoint the departments have hosted since entering into a non-emergency interagency agreement earlier this year.

The checkpoint was originally slated to take place from 11 p.m. Friday until about 4 a.m. Saturday, but the departments had to end early due to a lack of manpower, according to Capt. Fred Komm of the Darien Police.

"It takes a lot of people to do that, and you lose one every time you make an arrest," Komm said. The paperwork associated with a DUI arrest can take a long time to complete and officers were also needed to transport suspects, Komm said.

"We had an officer [at police headquarters] who did nothing but book people," he said.

During the stop, Darien police controlled the eastbound side of the street, while Stamford police controlled the westbound side.

"We ask them where they're coming from and where they're going," said Officer T.J. Moore early Saturday morning. "The primary purpose of the stop is for DWI, but we also check for seat belts, cell phones, license and registration."

Darien had eight officers at the checkpoint, Moore said.

"We look for the odor of alcohol, glassy eyes and disorientation," he said. "A lot of times, it's those types of cues."

If a driver seemed impaired, the officer conducted a field sobriety test, which Moore said is composed of three parts: the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN); the walk and turn; and the one-legged stand.

In the HGN, the officer watches the driver's eyes as they follow a slow-moving object in a straight line.

"If someone's intoxicated, their eyes will bounce back and forth instead of in a straight line," Moore said.

"With the walk-and-turn, they walk heel-to-toe in a straight line while they count out loud," he said. "And in the one-legged stand, they stand with one foot up, look down and count."

The last two tests require divided attention, which can help the officers accurately assess whether someone's abilities are impaired.

Both Darien and Stamford Police made three DUI arrests during the checkpoint. There were also numerous other violations for lesser offenses during the three-hour exercise, Komm said.

In addition to the six DUI charges, the departments issued 17 infractions, including nine for operating a vehicle without a license and two for not wearing a seatbelt. Thirteen vehicles were towed during the stop and one person was arrested for operating a vehicle without insurance or registration, according to police.

"We're roughly on par with where I thought we'd be," Moore said at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, halfway through the operation.

"We definitely plan on doing more of this type of stuff in the future," he said.

Below is a list of DUI arrests made by Darien Police during the checkpoint:

Larry Shelley, 47, of Stamford, was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Shelley was driving a 1996 Chrysler Town & Country Van east bound on East Main Avenue, when an officer stopped the vehicle as part of the organized DUI stop. Shelley told the officer he was coming from a club in Stamford, and had consumed about eight drinks, according to the report. He failed his field sobriety test, posted a $250 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, March 30.

Oliver Brangman, 49, of Bridgeport was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Brangman was driving a 1996 Honda Civic east bound on East Main Avenue, when an officer stopped the vehicle as part of the organized DUI stop. Brangman told the officer he was coming from a friend's house and had consumed a couple of drinks, Komm said. He failed his field sobriety test and was released on a promise to appear in court on Tuesday, March 30.

Shelley Fisher, 37, of Stamford, was charged with driving while intoxicated.

According to the report, Fisher was driving a 2006 Acura TL eastbound on East Main Avenue, when an officer stopped the vehicle as part of the organized DUI stop. The report stated that she told the officer she was coming from Tigin in Stamford, where she had consumed about three drinks. Police said she failed her field sobriety test, posted a $250 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, March 30.