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DUI Enforcement Will Intensify This Weekend

Phil Masterton/WNIJ

Fourth of July weekend will be a “No Refusal” weekend in Winnebago County for drivers who are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato is moving ahead with an idea from South Beloit Police Chief Dean Stiegemeier, to intensify DUI enforcement.

Stiegemeier had success with a similar program while he was deputy police chief in Carpentersville in Kane County.

Bruscato said that, if the suspected driver refuses to take a breathalyzer test, the county will use drug forfeiture funds to pay the cost of the next step.

“We will seek a search warrant,” Bruscato said, “and we will use a phlebotomist to draw that blood, and if you further refuse to comply with the search warrant, that we will be looking at charges of obstruction -- which is a felony here in Illinois.”

Stiegemeier says statistics from the Illinois Secretary of State’s office show that the Fourth of July weekend has more DUI arrests than any other holiday weekend. The reason for the intensified enforcement, he says, is simple.

“We’re serious about DUI enforcement, we’re serious about their safety,” the chief said, “and the fact that getting drunk drivers off the street will help save not only the drunk driver’s life but the lives of other motoring people that are on the street.”

No Refusal weekend starts this Friday, July 1, and runs through Monday evening, July 4.