As the Golden Triangle saw an influx of activity this past weekend, local law enforcement stayed on top of keeping their communities safe.
From the beginning of the weekend Friday morning, Starkville Police Department made six arrests for driving under the influence. The ages of those who received DUIs ranged from 20 to 71, and it was a combination of people from the area and college students, according to SPD’s public information officer, Sgt. Brandon Lovelady.
The first DUI of the weekend was given early Friday at 12:40 a.m. and the final two of the weekend were given Sunday morning at 12:29 a.m. and 2:03 a.m. Of the six arrests, there were two single vehicle accidents with no injuries.
“There were five who were driving while under the influence of alcohol,” Lovelady said. “There was one that was under the influence of another substance we are still waiting on testing for. Of the five, one was a mixture, but there was definitely alcohol in that person’s system.”
On an average, non-event weekend SPD can see between three to five DUIs. While this weekend was relatively tame considering Starkville hosted an SEC baseball series, Lovelady said it is always important to have a plan to avoid driving while under the influence.
“The best thing anyone can do is plan out the night before they begin drinking and can still make good decisions,” Lovelady said. “Whether it is a friend or a rideshare option, everyone needs to have a plan. I understand rideshares may take a little longer, but it’s better to wait that extra time than risk your life or someone else’s by getting behind the wheel.”
In Lowndes County, Sheriff Eddie Hawkins said an issue the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office faced was people attempting to bring drugs, largely marijuana, onto the Columbus Air Force Base during the air show.
“There were several brought to jail, and there were several misdemeanor citations written,” Hawkins said. “We had guys stationed at the gates, but the Air Force’s security forces handled most of what they received.”
Hawkins said many came to the gate with firearms on them, but they were turned away as firearms were one of the prohibited items as outlined on the CAFB Wings Over Columbus website. There were at least two arrests made where drugs were found in conjunction with a firearm in a vehicle.
Even with an influx of people out in the county, LCSO saw no DUIs in relation to CAFB activities over the weekend.
“Everybody that was drinking on base by the time they walked back to the car had to be sober because that was a long walk,” Hawkins joked. “I don’t think we had any incidents at all with DUIs leaving the air show.”