Investigation reveals who made DUI arrests, what people were dri - WFSB 3 Connecticut

I-TEAM

Investigation reveals who made DUI arrests, what people were drinking and who served them

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The I-Team looked at drunk driving in a way no one ever has before as part of an investigation that was a year in the making.

It obtained thousands of DUI records to see who made the arrests, what the people were drinking and who served them those drinks before they hit the road.

State trooper Sebastian Cummings knows enough to know he can't predict what will happen when he's out on the highways patrolling for impaired drivers.

"If he's weaving back and forth in the lanes or slow, it doesn't mean he's driving under the influence," Cummings said. "You have to be ready for anything. It could be, but you have to be ready for anything that comes up when you pull that car over."

On the night the I-Team rode with Cummings in his cruiser, there were no drunk drivers found. However, when he does make a DUI arrest, it's followed by Form A-44.

The Department of Motor Vehicles form follows up on the arrest with a series of questions.

"When did they start drinking? When did they stop drinking? What did they eat? Some people don't answer you, some people just make stuff up," Cummings said. "You have to go along with what they say."

However, anyone DUI stop only tells a piece of the story.

The I-Team decided to look at the bigger picture.

It obtained nearly 4,000 DUI reports from the DMV. It crunched the numbers to look for trends.

In the first nine months of 2016, there were 3,789 drunk driving arrests in Connecticut.

Troop H in Hartford was the busiest state police troop with 208 arrests. It was followed by Troop G in Bridgeport and Troop E in Montville.

For local departments, Hartford police made the most busts with Naugatuck, New Britain, Manchester and Bristol rounding out the top five.

The data also showed what people were drinking.

Just about 40 percent admitted to drinking beer. Vodka and wine were second and third.

The forms the I-Team obtained showed the highest blood-alcohol content result from a breathalyzer was a whopping .789. However, that amount could be fatal and a typo by police.

The next highest result was .4126 and there were four results over .4, which is five times the legal limit.

The I-Team wondered where drunk drivers were drinking before their arrests.

Of the nearly 4,000 reports, 866 drivers refused to answer that question. However, 375 said they drank at home, 81 insisted they hadn't been drinking and 10 said they had been drinking at work.

There is a snapshot of which bars and restaurants they may have left.

Thirty-four drivers said they had been at Mohegan Sun and 17 said they had been at Foxwoods Resort Casino. One reported being at both. Nine said they had been at one, but didn't name which.

That's 61 drunk drivers from the state's two casinos.

Both casinos have dozens of places that serve alcohol and thousands of customers each day.

A spokesperson for Mohegan Sun told the I-Team that the staff has mandatory training for all servers and bartenders. They also have a system that uses photos to establish who's been cut off.

The spokesperson gave the I-Team a statement.

"We are very proud of the standards we use which would put up against any establishment in the state," the spokesperson said.

After the casinos, next on the list was 66 Church in Naugatuck. It's a bar where nine drunk drivers told police they had been drinking before their arrests.

A representative for the bar told the I-Team that the data it reviewed was from when the bar first opened. The business now officers to call any intoxicated customer an Uber. The bar even pays the tab.

The bar said the service is posted, mentioned by bartenders and used almost nightly.

It said it hopes it means no more impaired drivers leaving there.

Rounding out the top five is The Harp and Dragon in Norwich and Uncle Kranky's in Jewett City. Both showed up five times in the nine months of records reviewed by the I-Team.

Uncle Kranky's owner Frank Rubino said he was surprised to be on the list because his bartenders get mandatory training to spot drunk customers. However, he said the biggest challenge is customers who were already drinking before they arrived.

On the front Lines, Cummings said he's heard it all.

No matter what the drivers said or how they answer troopers' and officers' questions, they have a job to do.

"You have to go along with what they say, but you have to be patient and realize that at the end of the day you got that person off the road," Cummings said.

The I-Team was struck by many of the answers on the forms.

One person who admitted to drinking while driving and blew a .3126. There was another who told a law enforcement official that he was drinking at "your mother's house."

Channel 3 scanned all of the responses.

To check them out, head here and see some more here.

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