Police & Fire

DWI in West Caldwell Serves as Warning for "Drive Sober" Campaign

Daniel Walsh of Montclair crashed into this black Lexus, which was parked next to the curb on the west side of Mountain Avenue in West Caldwell on Sunday night. 

WEST CALDWELL, NJ – A drunk driver crashed into a parked car on Mountain Avenue at around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The incident occurred just as New Jersey’s local police departments prepare for the 2015 Labor Day Statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

“More than 10,000 people are killed in the United States each year in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, and these crashes cost our society nearly $50 billion annually,” said Gary Poedubicky, acting director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in a press release.  “There is a zero tolerance message for this campaign. If drivers are caught operating their vehicle while impaired they will be arrested.”  

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In Sunday’s incident, Daniel Walsh of Montclair was heading southbound in a Chrysler PT Cruiser when he crashed into the rear of a black Lexus, which was parked legally on the west side of on Mountain Avenue.

He told police on the scene that he did not see the parked vehicle and was unable to explain any details of the crash according to the accident report.

The airbags in the driver’s car were deployed following impact, but the only injury was a minor scratch on the driver’s right arm. The West Essex First Aid Squad responded to the crash and gave Walsh a bandage.

Officer Brett Keepers issued Walsh a summons for DWI and an additional citation for Careless Driving.

Both cars were towed to Criger’s Towing in Fairfield and Walsh’s vehicle was impounded.

From Aug. 21 to Sept. 7, local and state police will be conducting sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols looking for drivers who may be drunk at the wheel as part of the 2015 Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. 

The promotion is part of a national crackdown to raise awareness and educate the public on the dangers of drinking and driving and to get those who are driving intoxicated off the roads. The program first launched in the United States in 1999 and works to prevent drunk driving, with an emphasis during the summer travel season.

Law enforcement agencies are offering the following advice for drivers to avoid drinking and driving and stay safe during the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign:

  • If you plan to drink, designate a driver, someone who will not drink alcohol, before going out.
  • Take mass transit, a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
  • Spend the night where the activity is held.
  • Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.  In New Jersey, drivers may dial #77 to report a drunk or aggressive driver.
  • Always buckle up, every ride, regardless of your seating position in the vehicle.  It’s your best defense against an impaired driver.
  • If you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member drive you to your doorstep.

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