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Are we safe out there? Part 2

May 24, 2009 - Mark Leberfinger

Do DUI checkpoints really work?

Roberto Emanuel Vazquez-Aguilar found out the hard way early Saturday. Checkpoints do work.

Vazquez-Aguilar was spotted driving the wrong way on Route 36, just ahead of the Blair County DUI Task Force's sobriety checkpoint set up in front of the Hollidaysburg Church of the Brethren.

After he drove into the checkpoint with the help of one of the task force officers, Vazquez-Aguilar was ordered out of the car, which was reported stolen from Fairway Drive in Altoona.

According to police, Vazquez-Aguilar not only was driving under the influence but he also was in the United States illegally. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a detainer.

Vazquez-Aguilar is in Blair County Prison on the detainer and DUI, stolen vehicle and other charges.

A strong argument may be made that if it wasn't for the checkpoint, Vazquez-Aguilar, who had listed a Tennessee address, would have gotten away. But because of the teamwork of Altoona police and the DUI task force, it didn't happen.

The checkpoint worked.


Article Comments



Jun-17-2009 12:33 PM

A DUI checkpoint is just like a speed trap. It is there for one purpose and if the law catches something bigger, good for them. Just like hunting, a 10 point buck is better than a spike.


Jun-15-2009 11:16 AM

your papers. i MUST see your papers.


Jun-03-2009 11:37 AM

Of course I don't think that, ray... But if "checkpoints" are what you want, let's go with them. The only reason they're tied to the DUI feature is to JUSTIFY them, because otherwise we're going to start resembling a police state - having to go through a "checkpoint" to go over the 17th Street bridge, for example, or to get in the post office. I stand by my comment - the DUI checkpoint is not designed to catch illegals, or folks with outstanding warrants - or is it, in your mind?


Jun-02-2009 1:58 PM

Do you think that DUI checkpoints should only be used to catch drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Should the task force let the other criminals go because they were not drunk or high? Or maybe set up another checkpoint down the road with signs that state that it is for illegal aliens only, then another further on for rapists, etc. Checkpoints DO work, that is proven.


May-26-2009 3:57 PM

To say this DUI checkpoint "worked" is a bit of a stretch, isn't it? The goal of the checkpoint isn't to catch illegal aliens, any more than it is to nab anyone with an outstanding warrant - and yet the stops could result in that, too. If we could point to a demonstrable drop in drunk driving incidents with a clear correlation to the location/frequency of these checkpoints, then we may be able to say they "work." But this is a coincidental happenstance that could just as easily have occurred if the illegal had a missing tail light. Would we then assert the annual vehicle inspection requirement "works?"


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