Officials: Deadly crashes likely alcohol-related

SEATTLE -- Detectives say a number of deadly car crashes in the Puget Sound area were likely caused by alcohol and all of them could have been prevented.

The night before New Year’s Eve in Bellingham, an SUV driven by Travis Holst crossed two lanes of traffic and smashed into Brox Browning’s car head on killing both young men.

Washington State Trooper, Keith Leary, said, “This should be a wakeup call for everybody to start off the New Year.”

But some didn’t get the message.  Alcohol is likely to blame for a number of deadly accidents New Year’s Day.

Seattle police couldn’t even tell what kind of car was involved in a deadly crash on Capitol Hill that killed two young people leaving a party.

Captain Neil Low said the driver, “Accelerated rapidly. Lost control. Hit something. Knocked into the fire hydrant. Sheered the fire hydrant off. Flipped the car. Debris everywhere. Three people were in the car. Two ejected.”

King county deputies suspect alcohol and speed led to another accident in Burien where one person died.

Washington State Patrol arrested 11 people for DUI on New Year’s in King County. Troopers say even one arrest is one drunk driver too many.

Trooper Chris Webb said, “I don’t know if the message is getting across. If it isn’t we’re going to send it because we’re going to be out there every night enforcing the dui laws in this state.”

One  legislator wants to make the laws tougher and is pushing for alcohol checkpoints to catch impaired drivers before they harm themselves or anyone else.

Rep. Roger Goodman said, “The research shows sobriety checkpoints are the most effective means in reducing deaths and serious injury. It’s the only thing left in Washington state we have not enacted.”

There’s no way to tell if checkpoints could save the lives of these people but many believe they could save lives down the road.