Police look for 'superdrunks' over holiday

5:14 PM, Nov 21, 2012   |    comments
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DUI checkpoint

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The night before Thanksgiving is often called the biggest bar night of the year, so Michigan State Police are warning people not to drink and drive. 

Downtown Grand Rapids bars are already seeing a steady stream of customers coming in the night before the holiday.

"It is the busiest three or four hours you'll see all year," says Garry Boyd, manager at Hopcat.

Michigan State Police will be on the lookout for people trying to drive after drinking too much -- including some who are what's known as "superdrunk" drivers.

"When people are that drunk, they have trouble standing or talking," says Sgt. Aaron Sweeney with the Michigan State Police.

Sergeant Sweeney says double the legal limit -- .17 blood alcohol or higher -- means double the punishment.   Last week, a driver in Van Buren County was hit with a super drunk driving charge.

"You could spend six months in jail instead of three months.  You could lose a license for a year rather than six months," says Sgt. Sweeney.

Several people at Hopcat never heard of the law, but they follow a general rule either way.

"As long as your drunk, you need to be cautious," says Allison Feldman.

"Buzzed driving is drunk driving, and I think that's a stronger message," says Daniel Feldman.

At Gardella's, business is expected to double, but managers say they'll be responsible.

"We're keeping an eye out at the door to see if they're too drunk, and we'll cut some people off," says Gardella's general manager Ellen Lenhart.

"We'll put people in cabs and make sure they're not driving.  We'll have extra security.  We're here for the people to have a good time, but we also have their back," says Boyd.

State police say the busiest time is between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. They'll have extra patrols looking for drunk and superdrunk drivers throughout the night.

If you or someone you know has too much to drink, you can call a taxi for a ride.  In the Grand Rapids area:

  • Yellow Cab - (616) 459-4646
  • Calder City Taxi - (616) 454-8080
  • Metro Cab - (616) 827-6500

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