Wednesday, 24 April 2024

DUI enforcement stepped up at Lake Pillsbury

LAKE PILLSBURY – National Forest and local law enforcement officials are increasing enforcement in the Lake Pillsbury area following recent accidents caused by drivers under the influence.


In the past month, three serious injuries and a fatality were caused by persons driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at Lake Pillsbury Basin on the Upper Lake Ranger District.


As reported here last month, an early-morning accident on March 11 that occurred along Elk Mountain Road claimed the life of a 19-year-old Santa Rosa man, who died after the pickup he was riding in went off the road, began to overturn and ejected him. A 17-year-old juvenile passenger also was injured in that accident, according to the CHP.


The CHP arrested the driver, Ryan White, 20, of Rohnert Park, on suspicion of driving under the influence, vehicular manslaughter and DUI causing bodily injury.


A second early morning accident on March 24, also along Elk Mountain Road, injured both driver M. Seyms and passenger K. Nyholm. Seyms lost control of his pickup, went off the road and hit a dirt embankment, according to the CHP.


Seyms later was arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence, the CHP reported.


Mendocino National Forest spokesperson Phebe Brown reported that, in response to those accidents, a multi-agency task force conducted “Operation Safe Driving” over the last two weekends.


Forest Service law enforcement officers, Lake County Sheriff’s deputies and officers from the state Department of Fish & Game comprised the task force, Brown said.


The operation, Brown reported, resulted in 19 arrests for driving under the influence, public intoxication, evading and other drug-related crimes.


“This task force really made a difference,” said Matt Knudson, a Forest Service law enforcement officer. “Not a single vehicle accident occurred during the periods of 'Operation Safe Driving.'”


In addition to the arrests, task force members shut down a “minors-in-possession” party with more than 75 people in attendance, Brown said.


Seven vehicles were towed and 25 “Notices to Appear” were issued for violations, including possession of controlled substances, minor in possession of alcohol, Fish & Game violations and possession of fireworks, added Brown.


“Operation Safe Driving will continue in the Lake Pillsbury Basin until we see a drastic decrease in DUIs and other driving habits,” said Knudson. “Drinking and driving do not mix; the National Forest is no exception.”


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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