Upped patrols, more bike cops planned for July 4 at Truckee/Tahoe
July 1, 2014
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Regional law enforcement efforts will be at full capacity this week for the Fourth of July.
The Truckee Police Department will deploy extra officers starting Thursday to look out for fireworks, which are illegal in the town, as well as in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Alcohol is the other main focus, said Chief Adam McGill.
"We're expanding our message this year to not just drinking and diving, but to be responsible as a pedestrian and bicyclist," McGill said "We had a regrettable event from last year, and because of that, one person has to live with the consequences of that forever."
That event involved the death of Leonard Richard Whitlow, 46, of Sparks, Nev. According to previous reports, Whitlow died days after being struck by a bicyclist on July 4, 2013, near Donner Lake prior to the fireworks show.
The cyclist, Petra Borhani-Bakker, 24, of Truckee, was arrested on suspicion of riding under the influence of alcohol. After an investigation, the Nevada County District Attorney's Office chose not to file charges due to a lack of evidence.
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At Lake Tahoe, the Placer County Sheriff's Office will operate with a similar all-hands approach, said Lt. John Weaver, focusing on the annual Truckee River alcohol ban.
Consuming alcohol along the popular rafting stretch between the Lake Tahoe dam and River Ranch near Alpine Meadows is illegal from Tuesday, July 1, through Sunday, July 6.
The ban includes the beach at Chambers Landing on the West Shore. Violations are punishable by a fine of $150 for the first, $500 for the second, and $1,000 for the third occurrence (within a calendar year).
Weaver said the department will deploy extra foot patrols along the river from Thursday through Sunday; extra bicycle patrols in Tahoe City, Kings Beach and along the river; and stationary deputies at the Chambers beach and at the 64 Acres entrance to the river.
"Please don't drink and drive, and be very cautions of people crossing the roadways," Weaver added. "It's going to be very crowded, and with all the construction going on in Kings Beach, people need to be extra cautious."
Every available officer with the California Highway Patrol is working throughout weekend, said CHP Truckee Office spokesman Pete Mann.
Those in Truckee/Tahoe can expect extra motorcycle and bicycle patrols, particularly in Kings Beach for the July 3 fireworks and Tahoe City and Truckee for their July 4 shows.
"Patience is always a virtue. There are a lot of people here … obviously if you're going to imbibe alcohol, make sure you have a plan, whether a taxi, the Night Rider shuttle, or designate a sober driver."
Authorities got a head start on alcohol enforcement this past weekend, as CHP and TPD worked together to check 350 vehicles during a 5-hour sobriety checkpoint Saturday evening on Donner Pass Road near Levon Avenue.
One person was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, McGill said, while two were arrested for driving without a license. Two minors also were cited for Minor in Possession of alcohol.