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Arrests in Hays spike as traffic increases

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

With 29 arrests made during the course of three days, it was a weekend to attract Hays Police Chief Don Scheibler's attention fast.

Among the arrests were eight cases of driving under the influence, one of which was a felony DUI case.

While Scheibler was quick to dismiss the idea of a "normal" weekend, he did say the arrests are sharply higher than would be expected.

"There was a substantial increase in the number of DUIs," he said.

With 61 traffic stops during the course of the three days, Scheibler said on average every seventh vehicle stopped resulted in the arrest of the driver.

The higher number of traffic stops likely is a result of an "increase in traffic volume due to students being back," he said of classes resuming at Fort Hays State University.

He's not, however, laying the arrests at the feet of FHSU students.

But the DUI arrests included several people ranging in age from 19 to 25. Police also arrested two people in their 30s.

In addition to the DUI arrests, Scheibler said there were five other alcohol-related arrests.

"It seemed like an unusual number," he said. "I don't think this is going to be the norm. But we're going to continue to be out there enforcing the law."

Rather than drive, he instead suggested people who decide to drink should call SafeRide, a free service that operates late at night. SafeRide can be contacted at (785) 621-2580.

"If you choose to drive drunk, we're going to arrest you," Scheibler said.

Other arrests included four people for fighting and two for battery.

The Hays Police Department also is planning to ramp up patrols Feb. 3 -- Super Bowl Sunday.

"We'll be aggressively enforcing DUI statutes and seat belt laws," Scheibler said.