But last month a police officer in East Hampton was hit by an SUV and had to be airlifted to a hospital. This brought home the current risks of traffic accidents and a probable cause.
This past week saw a high incidence of both accidents and DWI arrests. Long after the summer crowds have left, last week eight arrests were made in the Town of East Hampton or of a resident of the Town.
The alleged drunk drivers were not teenagers. Their ages ranged from 31 to 71, with the median age 43. Therefore the pattern here during the past week is different from that of the nation, where 25 percent of drunk driving arrests are of young people 18-24 and 40 percent are of people 18-29. (It would be interesting to check the arrest data over a longer period to see if this pattern holds up over time.)
Eight DWI arrests in a week is a rate of 416 per year in a population of 21,000, or 19.8 per thousand population. This is four times the national DWI arrest rate of 4.7 per 1,000 population (1.5 million U.S. DWI arrests a year in a population of 319 million). In the summertime one could blame irresponsible people From Away. But in October?
Several of the arrests followed the crashing of one or more vehicles, of which quite a few were large cars or pickup trucks, which should worry people who drive vehicles that would not hold up well against a big SUV or truck.
- A 46-year-old local resident with a Washington State driver's license was driving a 2000 Toyota Tundra in the lot when he struck another vehicle. He failed roadside sobriety tests and an open bottle of Smirnoff vodka was in the cabin of the truck.
- Four hours later, a 55-year-old driving a 2014 Chevrolet pickup truck was involved in a three-car accident where Division Street forks into Hampton Street. The local resident failed sobriety tests. Police said they found an open container of alcohol in the cabin of the truck.
- A 40-year-old man was arrested after a crash on Cedar Street in East Hampton. He was driving a 2009 Nissan Altima when the vehicle veered off the road.
- Erratic driving by a 71-year-old man resulted in a complaint that resulted in this arrest. From Davenport, Fla., the man was driving a 2004 Dodge pickup truck, who just missed striking several pedestrians crossing Woods Lane in East Hampton Village. He and a passenger had open bottles of Corona beer in the car.
- A 31-year-old woman with at least one prior DWI conviction was arrested for speeding on North Main Street in a 2008 Nissan.
- A 45-year-old man driving a 1996 Toyota on Montauk Highway was arrested for allegedly swerving across lane lines. Though his license carries a Queens address, he told the court he now lives in Sag Harbor.
- A 37-year-old Bridgehampton woman was arrested early Friday morning by East Hampton Town police. She was stopped because her 2014 Chevrolet Cruz, driving west on Montauk Highway near Daniel's Hole Road, had a headlight out. Police said she refused to take the breath test; her license was thereupon revoked by Justice Rana for a year.
- Also, a 36-year-old East Hampton man was charged with drunken driving Saturday night by Southampton Town police. He had been pulled over on Lake Avenue in Hampton Bays for an equipment violation.