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Amherst Sobriety Checkpoint Snags Five for Drinking, Drugs

NH State Police and Amherst Police held a sobriety checkpoint near Joey's Diner in Amherst Friday night into early Saturday morning (File Photo).
NH State Police and Amherst Police held a sobriety checkpoint near Joey's Diner in Amherst Friday night into early Saturday morning (File Photo).

Amherst Police joined up with New Hampshire State Police from Troop B in Bedford to hold a sobriety checkpoint on Route 101A in Amherst, near the Hollis, Merrimack, Nashua town lines.

The effort – which ran from 9 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday – led to five arrests among 157 vehicles and operators that were contacted and screened.

Those arrests, which do not indicate a conviction, are detailed as follows:

  • Bryan McCallum, 23, of Milford, charged with possession of a controlled drug.
  • Benjamin Mueller, 24, of Somerville, Mass., charged with transportation of a controlled drug.
  • Joesph Bonin, 17, of Milford, charged with possession and transportation of a controlled drug.
  • Katherine Rhodes, 20, of Nashua, charged with unlawful possession of alcohol.
  • Lizeth Jane Garcia, 22, of Merrimack, charged with driving while intoxicated.
The checkpoint, which was authorized by an order of the Hillsborough Superior Court and conducted under guidelines promulgated by the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, also resulted in numerous warnings and one summons for an unregistered vehicle.

A state police press release offered the following statement regarding the checkpoint:

New Hampshire State Police Colonel Robert Quinn and Amherst Police Chief Mark O. Reams and the officers of their departments consider the detection and apprehension of impaired drivers to be a top priority. They will continue to collaborate and utilize sobriety checkpoints and other means to deter, detect and remove impaired drivers from New Hampshire's roadways.

Matt Goddard July 28, 2013 at 10:36 AM
We were living in Georgia during the twin-tower attacks on 9/11 and, in the frenzied aftermath, police departments were setting up random checkpoints day and night. Half a mile from our house we were stopped, with the officer casually leaning toward the window and asking, "You boys got jobs?" What is a reasonable search? Where is the probable cause against an individual in a blanket search? "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." I'm all for getting drunk drivers off the streets, but not at the cost of our liberties. If you see them swerving or driving erratically, you have your probable cause.
Matt Goddard July 28, 2013 at 10:50 AM
After some research, I see the issue was before the Supreme Court in Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, upholding checkpoints by a 6-3 vote. Good ol' Rehnquist. The dissenting opinion is an interesting read.
Matthew July 30, 2013 at 03:39 PM
So out of 157 cars, over 6 hours, they got ONE. ONE.... DUI. I'm not sure if I should be happy, because people are making smart choices, or annoyed because they wasted a lot of drivers' time. I apparently missed this whole nonsense, thankfully.
Steve Robbins August 13, 2013 at 07:12 AM
After stopping 157 drivers, a 0.006% rate of arrest for DWI. Hardly a justified search and seizure. It's time to stop these police-state tactics.
Matt Goddard August 13, 2013 at 05:36 PM
I expect the police to use whatever tools are at their disposal. If they were allowed to kick open doors at random to search homes, they would kick open doors at random to search homes. The boundaries are set in the Constitution, until those boundaries are eroded by Supreme Court interpretation or activism. At that point, and in a case such as this, new legislation is the only real remedy.

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