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Police to Hold DUI Checkpoint Friday

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By Lookout Staff

June 22, 2023 -- Santa Monica police will hold a DUI checkpoint on June 30, weeks after a a drunk driver severely injured a pedestrian in a sobering reminder of the consequences of driving under the influence.

The checkpoint will take place from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. at an undisclosed location within the city limits "determined based on data showing incidents of impaired driving-related crashes," according to police.

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The primary purpose of DUI checkpoints is not to make arrests, but to promote public safety "by taking suspected impaired drivers off the road" and "deterring drivers from driving impaired," police said.

Next Friday's checkpoint comes less than a month after a drunk driver crashed and severely injured a pedestrian sitting on a bus bench at the intersection of 26th Street and Wilshire Boulevard shortly before midnight on June 2.

The 18-year-old victim, Gelvy Velazquez Ortiz, was on his way home when John Edward Alevizos, a 35-year-old resident of Los Angeles, veered off the road, according to reports.

Doctors at UCLA Medical Center amputated one of Ortiz's legs and performed several surgeries to save the other.

Officers determined Alevizos was driving was under the influence of alcohol and, due to the injuries to the victim, was arrested and booked for felony DUI, police said.

A driver can be charged with a felony DUI when the driver causes an accident that kills the victim or causes bodily injury.

“Impaired drivers put others on the road at significant risk,” police said. “Any prevention measures that reduce the number of impaired drivers on our roads significantly improves traffic safety.”

It is illegal for anyone 21 or older to drive with a blood alcohol content level (BAC) of .08 percent or higher.

According to the California Driver Handbook, it takes two drinks consumed within one hour by a woman between 120-160 pounds and three drinks by a man between 180-220 pounds to be over the legal limit.

One drink is based on 1.5 oz. of liquor (40 percent alcohol), 12 oz. of beer (4.5 percent alcohol) or a 5 oz. glass of wine (12 percent alcohol). The BAC lowers at a rate of .01 percent for every 40 minutes between drinks.

Police warn that driving under the influence of marijuana is also illegal, and that some prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs can interfere with driving.

"If you plan on drinking or taking medications that may impact your ability to drive safely, plan on staying at home," police said.

Drivers charged with a first-time DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.

Funding for next week's checkpoint was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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