COLUMBIA CITY — As the holidays draw near, alcohol-related arrests are on the rise.
But this is no surprise to police, as the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department saw a 58 percent increase in drunk driving arrests in 2011, and 33 percent in 2011 during the holiday months.
“I don’t know what to attribute that to, but it’s pretty staggering,” WCSD Chief Deputy Marcus Gatton said. “It could be because of extra time off for the holidays or due to the holidays in general.”
Gatton said the county also has an increase in suicide attempts in November and December.
“It may correlate with the consumption of alcohol; it’s hard to say,” Gatton said.
Columbia City’s Police Department had two alcohol related arrests Friday morning.
Jesse Olinger, 35, of Miami, Fla., was arrested after homeowners woke up to find him asleep on their couch.
Olinger was discovered at a residence in the 600 block of Armstrong Drive at approximately 5:30 p.m.
He registered a .18 on a breath test, more than twice the legal limit.
Olinger reportedly parked his car in the front lawn. According to Columbia City Master Patrolman Thor Hodges, Olinger’s car was cold and the windows were frosted, indicating he may have been in the residence for a long period of time.
He was booked on charges of residential entry, a felony, and public intoxication.
“We have a really good shift for findnig intoxicated drivers,” Gatton said.
He said the WCSD had posted a 50 percent increase in OWI arests from 2010-11.