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Bel Air

News Maryland Harford County Bel Air

St. Patrick's Day revelers made 'responsible choices,' police say

Harford County law enforcement officials reported a pretty quiet St. Patrick's Day weekend for 2013, although a few arrests were made around the county.

Eddie Hopkins, Harford County Sheriff's Office spokesman, and mayor of Bel Air, said police saw people making "responsible choices" over the weekend.

"They saw a higher number of cabs being used as the transportation vehicle of choice rather than people attempting to drive, many people were seen walking to taverns and establishments and many people stopped for minor traffic violations were either designated drivers or people who were called to pick up family and friends who had been drinking and chose not to drive," Hopkins wrote in an e-mail.

"Since St. Patrick's Day fell on a weekend, taverns and bar owners held weekend-type events which were publicly advertised," he said, noting bar owners reminded people via social media not to drink and drive, and some offered transportation options.

"Law enforcement and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted marketing campaigns; some municipalities placed sign boards on major arteries to alert and remind motorists of weekend activities and high volume pedestrian traffic," Hopkins wrote.  

"I also believe, and generally speaking,  the public is certainly much more aware of the dangers of driving while intoxicated and are very aware of the consequences," he said.

Hopkins noted that with St. Patrick's Day being touted as a "drinking" holiday, "the media, business communities and people discussing this amongst themselves in the long run made this a safe holiday for everyone."

Although the Bel Air bar scene had plenty of people heavily imbibing, town police Capt. Richard Peschek said there were no real problems warranting police attention.

Town administrator Chris Schlehr said two incidents were reported at Looney's, however, and several cars were towed, but other than that the weekend went smoothly.

Adriane Kleinman, manager at Looney's, said there were a couple scuffles Saturday and Sunday, one outdoors and one indoors, from "people drinking a little too much."

She said police responded but no arrests were made, and would not say more about the incidents.

Hopkins said the sheriff's office focused heavily on pedestrian safety this year, and signs along Bond Street and Baltimore Pike warned drivers to slow down and expect pedestrians.

He said the effort seemed to have worked, and pointed out the popular idea of a pub crawl is what law enforcement likes to see.

"People shouldn't drink and drive; they should crawl," he said. "We just tried to hit [pedestrian safety] really hard this year."

"You know these events get bigger every year," he added.

A handful of potential party-related arrests were made over the weekend.

Hopkins said the sheriff's office conducted saturation patrols that resulted in 11 arrests of people driving under the influence of alcohol and four criminal arrests for drug violations, disorderly conduct and an open warrant. Also, 151 citations were counted so far.

No further details were immediately available on the arrests.

Aberdeen Police Chief Henry Trabert said six officers from the city also did saturation patrols.

Aberdeen officers issued 86 traffic-related citations and made three arrests, two of which were for driving under the influence of alcohol, he said.

Those arrests were of Kevin Horton, 21, of Joppa, and Brian Haneschlager, 32, of Nottingham.

The two others were traffic-related, he said. One criminal arrest was also made: Tykeem R. Bacon, 24, of Edgewood.

Trabert added the saturation patrols were made possible by a highway safety grant.

In Havre de Grace, the other hot spot for a little bar-crawling, police spokesman Ofc. Jeff Gilpin said no holiday-related problems appeared to have been reported.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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