Depending on whom you believe, Snohomish County is either home to five of the top 15 bars and taverns in the state that may have overserved customers this year or law-enforcement...
Depending on whom you believe, Snohomish County is either home to five of the top 15 bars and taverns in the state that may have overserved customers this year or law-enforcement officers there are cracking down on the problem.
For the second time in two years, a Lynnwood tavern has topped the list as the bar most often named by drunken-driving suspects after they’ve been stopped and cited by police. Three Everett bars and a Bothell tavern also are on the list of the top 15 establishments that may have overserved customers, which is compiled by the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
While Daverthumps Pub & Galley was named by 54 drunken-driving suspects in 2004, Lynnwood police, State Patrol troopers and a senior enforcement officer with the Liquor Control Board say the top ranking is not entirely fair.
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State Patrol Sgt. Rod Gullberg, who supervises the agency’s breath-test section, said only 20 percent of police, deputies and troopers statewide are asking drunken-driving suspects where they were served. Gullberg said he has sent memos to troopers this year reminding them that asking suspects where they were drinking is one of the 14 questions required to be typed into a database by all law-enforcement officers when testing someone suspected of DUI.
“Some agencies do a better job than others,” Gullberg said. “I can’t say Snohomish County is doing a better job than others.”
In the majority of the more than 40,000 DUI tests performed this year, officers are using a generic code — to either indicate drivers refused to say where they had been drinking, didn’t recall where they were served or simply refused to answer — instead of naming the establishment they had been at, Gullberg said.
He thinks this is because many officers are in a hurry.
About a fourth of all breath tests in the state were performed in King County this year. Of the 15 bars named by the Liquor Control Board, one is in King County.
Kate Miyasato, senior enforcement officer for the Liquor Control Board’s Northwest Region, said the list is only used for educational purposes. Businesses on the list aren’t fined or punished; she said the hope is that law-enforcement and liquor-control officers will work closer with the bars to cut down on overservice.
“I think the reason Snohomish County is more prolific on the list is because we have more of a propensity to make DUI arrests,” said Lynnwood police Sgt. Chuck Steichen. “There are agencies out there where there is no desire to push for DUI arrests.”
In 2003, more DUI arrests were made in Lynnwood than in nearly any other city in the state, Steichen said. He said the department considers catching drunks a priority and finding out where the suspect has been drinking is a mandatory part of the process.
Don Mayfield, Daverthumps owner, doesn’t fault Lynnwood police for doing their jobs but said his business is in a tough spot because police are so focused on drunken driving.
Mayfield said he’s working closely with police and the Liquor Control Board to find ways to lower the number of drunken drivers leaving the bar. He said Daverthumps doesn’t serve double shots or pitchers of beer after 12:30 a.m. and often talks patrons into finding alternate ways to get home to keep them from driving drunk.
“We probably do more than any other bar to curb overservice,” Mayfield said.
Jennifer Sullivan: 425-783-0604 or firstname.lastname@example.org