Massachusetts State Police announced in a statement Monday that they arrested nine drunk drivers in the area over the course of the weekend. Seven other arrests and 222 Motor Vehicle Citations were also issued.
The arrests, police said, are largely to add 11 additional police officers on Routes 24 and 195 between the hours of 10 p.m. - 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
The plan was put in place after several of fatal and near-fatal accidents in the area, particularly on Route 24. One such accident ocurred near Easton's town border in West Bridgewater and on Route 24 at 4 a.m.
This weekend was not without tragedy on area highways, though.
One fatal accident Police said that accident occurred outside of the "surge" zone and "evidence suggests the victim exited his car and stepped in front of oncoming traffic."
Below is the full statement from the Massachusetts State Police Department relating to the "surge":
The Massachusetts State Police arrested nine drunk drivers on Routes 24 and 195 this past Friday and Saturday, the first weekend of a new patrol initiative aimed at cracking down on impaired, distracted, and aggressive drivers. State Police patrols Friday and Saturday also made one other felony arrest and six misdemeanor arrests and issued criminal summons to nine drivers. Additionally, troopers wrote 222 motor vehicle citations on those roads on those days.
Two drunk drivers were arrested on Friday night, while seven more were arrested Saturday night, despite heavy rains. One of the drunk drivers arrested was interdicted as he drove the wrong way on Route 24 (driving northbound on the southbound side) near Exit 10.
At 1:35 a.m. Saturday, troopers responded to a two-car crash on Route 24 northbound, north of Exit 8, in Freetown that sent two people to Rhode Island Hospital with injuries. One of the injured, JOSE PEREZ, 49, of Brockton, who was driving a 1999 Ford Mustang, was charged with operating under the influence, negligent operation, and marked lanes violation. The other victim, a 24-year-old Middleborough woman, was driving a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier. Both drivers had serious injuries believed to be non-life threatening.
On Sunday, at 3:15 a.m., troopers and Berkley Police intercepted another wrong-way driver on Route 24 in Berkley. The driver was traveling north in the southbound lanes of Route 24. Police identified the driver as NICHOLAS PILLA, 25, of New Bedford and observed his eyes to glassy and bloodshot. Police smelled an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. A trooper had PILLA perform numerous field-sobriety tests and determined he was operating under the influence of liquor. PILLA was charged with OUI liquor and negligent operation.
This past weekend was the first in which Massachusetts State Police Troop D is deploying 11 additional patrols on Routes 24 and 195 on both Friday and Saturday nights. The extra patrols run from 8 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Saturday and from 8 p.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday, and will continue through the end of September. They complement regular patrols out of the Middleborough and Dartmouth Barracks. The patrol surge was announced last Thursday in the wake of frequent crashes causing fatalities and serious injuries in those areas of Southeastern Massachusetts.
Please note that the fatality on Route 24 occurred in Randolph, in Troop H, not in the Troop D patrol surge area. In that crash, evidence suggests the victim exited his car and stepped in front of oncoming traffic.