Local News

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says its officers will be focusing on stopping drunken boaters over the Labor Day weekend.

The department says officers will heavily patrol the state's lakes and rivers Friday through. DNR Conservation Police Officer Ray Wichus says this weekend his officers will be out in full force looking for OUI's.

[audio:laborday1.mp3]A Word From Officer Wichus[/audio]

In addition to targeting drunken boaters, the department plans to make sure boaters are using proper safety gear, like lifejackets. Conservation police patrolling roadways also plan to be on the lookout for drunk drivers. Wichus says safety on Clinton Lake this year has been good, and he wants to see boaters continue that trend.

[audio:laborday2.mp3]A Word From Officer Wichus[/audio]

For DNR Officers, their goal is to keep those impaired off the water and off the roads. Officer Wichus says many times those operating under the influence increase the chances of causing a disturbance or even causing harm to those boaters following the rules of the water.

[audio:laborday3.mp3]A Word From Officer Wichus[/audio]

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, just 9% of fatal crashes on Labor Day weekend last year involved alcohol. That compared to 40% in 2009 and 58% in 2008.

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