Authorities cracking down on drunk driving this weekend

AYNOR, SC (WMBF) - Several law enforcement agencies are working together to form major check points in the area to crack down on underage drinking this weekend.

About 40 police officers were out in Aynor Thursday night, conducting DUI check point. The Community Action for a Safer Tomorrow (CAST) Coalition is also working on something big for this weekend. Officials said both operations just happened to coincide with spring break and the Coastal Carolina University basketball hype.

The Law Enforcement Network conducted a check point Thursday night on Highway 501 and 319 in Aynor because the Aynor Police Department was the host agency this month. More than 14 different police agencies made up the checkpoint.

Master Corporal of the Myrtle Beach Police Department Shannon Toole said that all of their checkpoints are submitted a month to two months in advance. He says the goal of Thursday's check point is just as important as the others promote traffic safety and remove intoxicated drivers or illegal drunks from the road.

"We're all about reducing the number of fatal collisions on our roadways and this is a big way we actually do that," Master Corporal Toole said.

The Horry County CAST Coalition is also made up of many different police agencies. He says the temptation to drive impaired is here in our county, and the coalition will be out in uniform and undercover. Even though this was a previously-planned crackdown, HCPD Sgt. Jeff Benton realizes the extra hype surrounding this weekend.

"We know that area locations around the Grand Strand are having 25-cent beers, they're having parties surrounding the game, because it's nationally-televised," Sgt. Benton said.

The CAST Coalition works mostly off tips, Benton said: tips of a house party where a lot of college students live that aren't 21, or a business that serves to minors. The CAST Coalition's overall goal is to educate. Benton also points out this is a college town and serious problems can start young.

"Alcoholism can start just by binge drinking and college life," Sgt. Benton said.

Master Corporal Toole will be sending out the results of Thursday's checkpoint Friday, and Sgt. Benton says they will be out in force this weekend.

If you are caught drinking underage, you can face up to 30 days in a detention center, a fine, or both. If you get caught supplying minors with alcohol, charges can be even worse.

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