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Holiday Weekend Busy But Safe
Normal 0 0 1 42 241 oakdale leader 2 1 295 11.1287 0 0 0 Members of the Romain Schell Post #2922 Veterans of Foreign Wars, Oakdale listen to a speaker during the Monday, May 31 Memorial Day ceremony at Oakdale Citizens Cemetery. There were more than 500 flags decorating veteran’s gravesites at the cemetery for Memorial Day. - photo by CRAIG MACHO/THE LEADER
The Memorial Day holiday weekend traffic, both Friday and Monday, backed up Yosemite Avenue and clogged up F Street but in spite of heavy traffic flow and increased visitors through the city, law enforcement reported a relatively quiet holiday with the only spike being in DUI arrests due to the special grant-funded traffic enforcement.

“The calls were really run-of-the-mill,” Lt. Lester Jenkins of the Oakdale Police Department said. “We had very heavy traffic throughout the weekend but not a lot of accidents.”

Of the six DUI arrests, there was one DUI-related, non-injury collision on Saturday, May 29 on F Street and Johnson Avenue involving three cars.

Part of the rise in DUI arrests was due to the special enforcement detail, said traffic officer Ben Savage.

Officers from the Oakdale Police Department’s DUI Enforcement Team were deployed on a special saturation patrol during the holiday weekend to crack down on drunk driving in the city’s ongoing effort to improve traffic safety, save lives and prevent injuries.

Funding for the patrol was through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The grant enabled the city to put more officers on patrol, Savage said, adding, “We had above and beyond what we usually have.”

Even so, Savage said, “Seems like it went fairly smoothly. For the most part it remained under control.”

Memorial Day traditionally signifies the beginning of the summer travel season. Many Californians celebrated this holiday with picnics, barbecues and road trips.

Memorial Day weekend was a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) for the California Highway Patrol, every available officer was out on the road during this time period looking for motorists who were a danger to themselves or others on the state’s roadways.

During last year’s MEP, 45 people were killed on California’s roadways. In addition, CHP officers made 1,465 arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) during the 78-hour reporting period. According to statistics, nearly half of the vehicle occupants killed within CHP jurisdiction were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. To combat the problem of improperly restrained passengers, all CHP areas are participating again this year in the national Click-It or Ticket Campaign, which continues through June 6. 

This weekend was also an Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (CARE) holiday. Operation CARE is a joint program of the nation’s highway patrols that places special safety emphasis on interstate highways during holiday periods. CARE highways in California include Interstates 80, 40, 15 and 5.

In spite of warm temperatures, Oakdale Rural reported zero water rescue incidents although the Tuolumne River in Waterford saw one rescue of two people who were stranded after their boat capsized. Rescue personnel attribute the use of life vests and a cell phone to a successful outcome.