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Police prepare to crack down on drunken driving this St. Patty's Day

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, March 15, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- One of the greenest holidays is quickly approaching.

"It is St. Patrick's Day, this is a drunken, happy holiday," said Patricia Hubbard, bar manager at Blue Sky Kitchen.

And it is one of the deadliest holidays for drivers on the road.

"There's no reason for you to drink six beers and 10 shots and think you're gonna be OK behind the wheel," Hubbard said.

It's Hubbard's first St. Patty's Weekend in Augusta, and she already has a game plan.

"I just tell my servers to stop serving, if we can ask for assistance, they want, you know, call a cab or call a friend for them," Hubbard said.

But when the bottles pop and shots are poured, the cops will be there, waiting and watching.

Lt. Ramone Lampkins with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office will be patrolling this weekend.

"Downtown will probably be an area of concern," he told News 12. "You see cars being pulled over, it's gonna make you think twice about drinking and driving, get you a cab, get somebody to come pick you up."

Operation Thunder is still in effect, cracking down on drunken drivers, but this weekend, cops will be out in full force.

Last year's St. Patty's Day celebration brought in 34 DUIs. In 2011, 20 were recorded.

Lampkins says he wants those numbers to drop.

"It's gonna be full force, we're gonna have a full force of people down here, there will be a strong police presence," Lampkins said.

And bar workers like Hubbard are thankful for the help.

"That helps us out with the St. Patrick's Day, to have people be a little bit safer, a little more conscious about the cops being out," Hubbard said.

She says noticing the signs can make all the difference in a life lost or a live saved.

"Stumbling, slurring words, just, you know, even being obnoxious, just out of control, really keep your eyes open," Hubbard said.

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