Sting Nets Those Not Allowed to Drive Driving Away From Court

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Three vehicles were impounded, three people were cited for driving with suspended or revoked licenses and one unlicensed driver was cited in a police sting outside Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach Monday.

Between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., undercover Costa Mesa police officers followed 16 offenders who had been ordered by a judge not to drive. Most who had left courtrooms and walked to parking area had rides waiting for them, but four got behind the wheels of vehicles and drove off.

They didn't drive far.

The operation was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The same agencies fund DUI checkpoints in Costa Mesa and other Orange County locations.

Speaking of which, Costa Mesa's DUI Enforcement Team will deploy officers for a special saturation patrol beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday and continuing through the weekend to crack down on drunk driving. DUI/driver's license checkpoints are also scheduled in town on Feb. 19 and Feb. 26. Since 2005, the number of alcohol involved fatalities has been dropping in Costa Mesa, and authorities credit these operations.

There have been 47 drunken-driving collisions in Costa Mesa over the past year, claiming one life and injuring 58 people, according to senior officer Jeff McCann.

"If you drive drunk, Costa Mesa PD will be looking for you," he warns of this weekend's special patrol. "If you're over the limit, you will be arrested."

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