Officer John Vallejo conducts a sobriety test on a woman stopped in Ybor City for careless driving.She
passed and went on her
...TAMPA - With eight years on DUI patrol and 1,400 arrests under his belt, Officer John Vallejo has seen the tremendous dangers drunken drivers pose to motorists.
Alcohol makes people do strange things.Many are tragic.A few are humorous. Vallejo
, whose busiest hours are from midnight to 4 a.m., has a front-seat view of it all.
On a recent Thursday night patrolling between Ybor City and the University of Tampa
, the drivers Vallejo initially stops are careless, not drunk: a woman eating chicken wings and weaving, a man stopped in traffic digging out change for a toll, a girl who carelessly clipped a curb.
At night, a fatal alcohol-related wreck is three times more likely to happen, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
A master patrol officer with the Tampa Police Department's 16-person Driving Under the Influence unit, Vallejo
has arrested one drunken driver this night - a man who crashed into a car at a stoplight. His
second arrest will come shortly before 2 a.m.
Driving with a friend to Clearwater after partying in Ybor City, a 19-year-old woman was swerving at the Interstate 275 offramp at Himes Avenue.She
tells Vallejo she
had three beers, before failing a sobriety test.She
was unable to walk a straight line.She
stumbles while trying to put her
shoes on after the test.
reads the woman her
Miranda rights, she
thumbs into her
...Vallejo has been hit three times by drunken drivers while on patrol, once while taking another drunken driver to jail.