Impaired driving crashes up, police cracking down

By: Sean Evans Email
By: Sean Evans Email
A central Kentucky sheriff

MGN Online

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - It's more than just a problem to Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton and his deputies.

"[It's] what I would call an epidemic. It's, there's a large portion of vehicles you pull over day to day that are intoxicated on narcotics, for prescription use, not from alcohol," said Franklin County Deputy Jeff Farmer, as he patrolled the county.

WKYT's Sean Evans rode along with Deputy Jeff Farmer, who's been in law enforcement for more than a decade.
Within the first half hour, he pulled over a driver, he found out had a variety of pills on her. They were all prescribed legally, but when driving a car, they can prove to be dangerous.

"Impaired driving can be from alcohol, to marijuana, any drugs, that's impaired driving. It's not just alcohol anymore," said Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton.

Sheriff Melton says his office has seen a spike in impaired driving crashes in Franklin County.

According to the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, several counties in our viewing area are in the top 25 counties in the state for most impaired driving crashes between 2010 and 2012.
Fayette County tops the local list at number 2, Madison County comes in at number 9, Franklin County is 15th, Jessamine County is 16th, Laurel County is 18th, Pulaski County is 21st, Scott County is 22nd, and Perry County rounds out the list at 25th.

Sheriff Melton says increased efforts to curb impaired drivers are coming, all over his coverage area.

Melton said, "We're a geographically diverse community, our county is. We've got 211 square miles. You're liable to see a deputy sheriff or trooper anywhere in this county. And Frankfort City Police as well, they're getting aggressive too. You're liable to see us anywhere."

Melton says the bottom line is, too many people are put at risk by impaired drivers, and it's time to put a stop to it.

"We have a zero tolerance on it. And if we catch you, you're gonna go to jail," said Melton.

The increased effort to curb impaired driving crashes is possible in part due to two grants; one from the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, the other through the Kentucky Sheriff's Association.

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