JACKSONVILLE, NC – The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office was proud to host a kick-off event for North Carolina’s Holiday Booze It and Lose It Campaign on December 12.

Law enforcement agencies and emergency medical services from across the state were on hand to participate in the event. The Sheriff’s Office is excited to be a leader in moving our state closer to the Vision Zero goal of eliminating roadway fatalities in this state.

The campaign runs from December 12 to January 1, during which law enforcement partners across the state will be doubling their efforts to apprehend impaired drivers and further traffic safety in Onslow County and North Carolina.

“This time of year should be about gathering with family and friends, but we need you to do that safely,” said Mark Ezzell, Director of the NC Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Remember, if you feel different, you drive differently. Our law enforcement partners in Onslow County and throughout the state want to keep you safe this holiday season, and this campaign is one effective way to do that.” 

District Attorney Ernie Lee also was present and spoke about the impact of DWI on the victims. “Behind every statistic, there is a real person.” Mr. Lee shared a story about an impaired driver he prosecuted for killing Vincent Richmond in a DWI crash. The offender, while driving impaired the night before, was due in court for a previous impaired driving charge.

2022 is shaping up to be the worst year for Onslow in over a decade. As of the end of November, we have lost 31 lives to traffic crashes, and we have yet to enter one of the deadliest months of the year. Onslow, on average, experiences nearly three fatal crashes every Christmas season. In Onslow County, fourteen people were killed during December over the last five years. During last year’s Holiday Booze It and Lose it Campaign, Onslow County law enforcement arrested 69 people for impaired driving.

Through our partnership with other agencies across the county, the NC State Highway Patrol, Forensic Tests for Alcohol, and Governor’s Highway Safety, your Sheriff’s Office will continue to build on the success of our new traffic safety initiatives. Our DWI Unit has arrested over 1200 impaired drivers and continues to work to take impaired drivers off the road. The Sheriff’s Office also announced our newest traffic safety initiative, a $25,000 grant from NC Governor’s Highway Safety to provide overtime for deputies.

Sheriff Chris Thomas said, “This Holiday Booze It and Lose It, the Sheriff’s Office will deploy additional deputies during statistically determined areas and times. We encourage drivers never to drink and drive. Call a cab, phone a friend, or app a ride. There is no reason for anyone to drive impaired this Christmas Season.”