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Maryland State Police troopers conducted additional checkpoints and patrols during the Thanksgiving holiday, which yielded significant results.

During the Thanksgiving weekend, all 22 MSP barracks in the state conducted criminal enforcement initiatives and traffic stops focusing on impaired or distracted drivers, aggressive and speeding motorists and those who were not wearing a seat belt or refused to put children in safety seats, according to an MSP press release.

Det. Sgt. Paton, assistant barrack commander of the MSP Prince Frederick barrack, said troopers participated in patrols and checkpoints Wednesday, Nov. 21, and Friday, Nov. 23. Wednesday’s sobriety checkpoint was a joint effort with the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, Paton said.

Sheriff Mike Evans (R) said about six people were arrested by deputies between Wednesday and Sunday for driving under the influence as a result of the sobriety checkpoints.

“It’s a shame that that many people are still out there driving drunk,” Evans said. “We stopped a great many of them and probably saved somebody’s life.”

Paton said troopers stationed in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s county participated in a “southern troop saturation patrol effort” Friday with troopers working extra duty overtime. Between the three barracks, Paton said, 17 people were arrested by troopers for driving under the influence and five people were arrested for drugs and weapons possession.

Paton said the troopers in all three counties did “a good job” of being visible during a holiday weekend and preventing more people from drinking and driving. Statistically, the barracks had a more productive effort this year, he said, which is not necessarily attributed to more people drinking and driving but could be a result of troopers being more thorough.

Statewide, more than 8,900 vehicles were stopped by troopers and 96 people were arrested for driving under the influence, 56 people were arrested for drug violations and 133 people were arrested for criminal violations, and three guns were recovered, the press release states. Additional initiatives will continue through the holiday season.

MSP troopers encourage motorists to plan ahead, be courteous and be patient while traveling and always reduce as many distractions as possible when driving, according to the press release. If impaired, call a friend or family member or use public transportation. If a driver is impaired or driving their vehicle in an unsafe manner, keep a safe distance and contact law enforcement.

The additional MSP patrols are in support of the Maryland Highway Safety Office and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiatives to reduce crashes on the roadways. The overtime funding for additional patrols was provided by grants from the Maryland Highway Safety Office.

kfitzpatrick@somdnews.com