ALBANY – Seventeen drivers operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs were arrested during a weekend-long sweep for drunken drivers, according to the Albany County Sheriff’s Office. Police made 648 traffic stops, issued 333 citations and found 73 designated drivers who were transporting intoxicated friends.
The sweep, which was timed to coincide with holiday parties, took place from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Sunday.
During a similar initiative last year, police made 655 traffic stops, 13 arrests, issued 266 citations and found 42 designated drivers.
This year’s blanket patrol was held in honor of Crystal R. VanEpps, 21, of Colonie. VanEpps, who was pregnant, died in an 2010 crash on Lishakill Road in Colonie. She was riding as a passenger in a car operated by her boyfriend Timothy Reichel, 31, of Colonie. Reichel was convicted of second degree manslaughter and was sentenced Friday to 7 ½ to 15 years in prison.
On Saturday, a police officer caught a motorist driving 70 mph in a 30 mph zone on Brevator Street around12:30 a.m.
The driver ran a stop light at Western Avenue and then drove west in the eastbound lane on Western, according to police. The car turned onto Russell Road after going through a red light and proceeded at 90 mph through several stop signs, according to a police statement. The vehicle stopped at Euclid Avenue and Greenway.
The driver, Stephen J. Koenig, 29, failed a field sobriety test, according to the sheriff’s office. Koenig, who has a prior DWI conviction, was arrested and was charged with reckless endangerment, drunken driving, criminal possession of a controlled substance (Alprazolam pills), reckless driving and speeding.
- Cathleen F. Crowley