EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY — Pct. 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden will head up a multi-agency task force targeting intoxicated drivers on New Year’s Eve. The Texas Department of Public Safety, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies are participating.
The Pct. 4 Constable’s Office will be out in force tomorrow night. Every member of the agency is sacrificing New Year’s Eve with their families to try and prevent tragedy. District Attorney Brett Ligon has provided an Assistant DA, and a phlebotomist will be on hand to draw blood from those who refuse to cooperate with a breathalyzer test. There will be no refusals and no excuses. Intoxicated drivers will go to jail, but that is not the goal.
“We’d rather be proactive than reactive- We’re not looking for high arrest numbers, because that means people didn’t heed this warning.” Constable Hayden said. “Our highest goal would be to make zero DWI arrests- If we saturated the area and found no intoxicated drivers, we’d feel our mission was accomplished.”
“It’s very simple – don’t drink and drive,” he said. “We’re not saying people can’t drink and celebrate, but be responsible and have a designated driver.”
Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts strongly supports the efforts of Constable Hayden and his men, having been affected by intoxicated drivers both personally and professionally.
“As someone who has lost loved ones to drunk drivers, I’m making a personal plea to everyone – If you won’t refrain from drinking and driving because it’s against the law, then do it because of the greater potential cost,” Judge Metts said. “As Justice of the Peace for the past 8 years, I’ve investigated hundreds of deaths and unfortunately many of them were alcohol related.”
“People always think it won’t happen to them, but I have to tell you – I’ve never seen a driver handcuffed on a DWI fatality scene who had a look on their face that indicated they were expecting it,” he said. “Maybe you don’t think you’re too impaired to drive, but if you’re impaired, you’re not thinking straight in the first place.”
“Just don’t take the chance,” Judge Metts said. “Don’t start the new year by ending someone else’s life and destroying yours.”
Constable Hayden is offering an additional deterrent to impaired driving. Everyone arrested for DWI during the New Year’s Eve / New Year’s holiday will have their name and photo released to all news media for publication, as added incentive to abide by the law.
Another issue increasingly coming to light is adults providing minors with alcohol, and there are some common misconceptions.
“It’s illegal for anyone besides a parent or legal guardian to provide alcohol to a minor, regardless of whether it’s on private property or supervised by adults,” Constable Hayden said. “People also need to know that the same standards of driving while intoxicated do not apply to those under 21 – A minor will go to jail for driving after consuming any amount of alcohol and must not be proven legally intoxicated.”
All of these crimes can carry serious penalties, but all are preventable.
“A lot of things that were considered traditions are killing people – young and old, and it’s time for it to stop,” Constable Hayden said. “Together, we can make a difference.”
“We’re doing our part to keep the citizens of East Montgomery County safe, please do your part by making sure everyone around you who drinks has a designated driver.”
Constable Hayden and Judge Metts wish everyone a happy and safe New Year.