UPPER DARBY — Four drivers were cited for DUI in a recent sobriety checkpoint organized by Upper Darby Police Department and the Eastern Delco DUI Task Force.
The department announced Tuesday morning the results of a checkpoint initiated along the Aldan Borough at Oak Avenue and Providence Road from 10 p.m. Sept. 6 until 2 a.m. the next morning. Officers administered six field sobriety tests to the 575 drivers who were briefly contacted by police on the scene, four of whom did not pass.
The following were preliminarily arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Kelly Micozzie-Aguirre:
• Eric Walters, 36, of the 100 block of Barrington Road in Upper Darby, was charged with DUI, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was caught smoking marijuana while driving a stolen U-Haul truck through the checkpoint. He was released on $15,000 unsecured bail;
• Kathleen Anne Rice, 53, of the 1100 block of South Plum Point Drive in Exton, was charged with DUI (possibly induced by a combination of alcohol and prescription medications). Her bail was set at $15,000, unsecured;
• William P. Harris, 33, of the 1500 block of Reed Street in Philadelphia, charged with DUI, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bail was set at $15,000, unsecured; and
• Jamah Madiah Kpogba, 23, of the 1700 block of South Avondale Street in Philadelphia, was charged with DUI, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia and a summary issued for driving an unregistered vehicle. Bail was set at $5,000, unsecured.
Another driver was caught with having a very small amount of marijuana on their person, but was strongly advised and released by police based on the totality of the circumstances.
A number of traffic citations were filed as well. Warnings were given for seatbelt and minor motor vehicle violations.
Overall, police called the checkpoint results encouraging with impairment detected at lower rates than in previous operations. Checkpoints at other township locations in May 2019 resulted in seven field sobriety tests performed and five arrests, down from May 2018 when eight tests were performed and five people were arrested.
The use of ride-hailing options like Uber and Lyft have resulted in fewer DUI arrests.
“With each successive checkpoint operation, officers on the checkpoint line have noticed the ever increasing use of hired vehicles to transport impaired drivers home,” read a press release issued by Upper Darby Police Capt. Tom Johnson. “The number of hired vehicles picking up patrons from nearby drinking establishments was also very encouraging to see.”
Police are still being alert about the effects of marijuana use as an impairment to driving, the most common drug involved in non-alcohol DUI cases handled by the task force. Alcohol will also exaggerate the impairment of controlled substances and perceived drugged drivers who passed the field sobriety test were given a travel plan who displayed risk factors.
Police used the Oak Avenue and Providence Road intersection based on DUI arrest and collision data making it a dangerous area for pedestrians and drivers. Johnson said Tuesday that a pedestrian was struck and killed on Oak Avenue crossing the SEPTA train tracks just up the street two days before the checkpoint. There was no impairment or distraction cited in the still on-going investigation and no criminal charges are pending.