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Gene Kennedy reportingA DUI blitz is underway tonight. Troopers say they are looking to get drunk drivers off the road. If you're planning on attending a holiday party tonight or even this weekend, plan on a designated driver if you drink.
Twenty-five extra troopers are patrolling Salt Lake County tonight to make sure the drive home is as safe as it can be. Don't expect to see a designated checkpoint. They're just out looking for drunks who shouldn't be on the road.
Tonight's effort comes after two recent high-speed chases where the suspects may have been impaired. Early Thursday morning, a Sandy police officer wrestled a driver for the keys of a stolen Porsche. The driver got away, but police tracked the car to the owner's house and arrested Thanh Van Mai, the roommate.
Sgt. Victor Quezada, with the Sandy Police Dept., said, "In this case, he did have narcotics on him, along with drug paraphernalia."
If the driver was impaired, it's the kind of scenario state troopers could find themselves in. UHP sergeant Chad Hecker said, "During the holiday season we try to keep as many people out on the road looking for impaired drivers as we can possibly do so."
Then last night a state trooper found himself dodging another reckless driver. Forty-two-year-old Matthew Mackin had a problem at work at the Glenwild Golf Club before leading police on a chase.
Sgt. Justin Martinez, with the Summit County Sheriff's Office, said, "He was there as a temporary server. He was acting a little incoherent, and the manager had asked him to leave."
There was no way police could do a breathalyser on him. Mackin stole his friend's car and led a Summit County deputy on a chase from Park City to Sugar House. It ended only when the deputy used a pit maneuver to stop him.
These are the kinds of drivers officers don't want to face this weekend, but they're on guard for anything.
Sgt. Hecker said, "It's a pretty sad situation, but it's not that difficult to find someone that's unsafe to be driving."
The UHP says these DUI blitzes do work, that each trooper is guaranteed to find at least one impaired driver.