Drugged driving impacting the Southern Tier

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00

VESTAL (WBNG) — Police say the issue of drugged driving goes hand-in-hand with the opioid crisis in the Southern Tier.

A crash in Vestal on Tuesday made for a close call for Rebecca Jones of the Town of Maine, who says she was driving on State Route 26 at the time of the incident.

“I just thanked god that there was nobody on the side of me and I could swerve and get out of the way and then when I pulled over and said my little prayer and looked back, I just saw cars,” said Jones.

Police say the driver was on drugs, which reminded Jones of something she knows all too well, an epidemic that is now affecting the roads.

“So how I feel about it not only as a citizen of the community, but also of somebody who has a loved one, I am pissed. I am really angry over this, and this has to stop,” said Jones.

Vestal Police say the issue is actually getting worse.

“It’s a tremendous increase over the last year or two,” said Vestal Police Lieutenant Christopher Streno.

This year the department has made 18 driving while ability impaired arrests.

That’s an estimated one arrest, about every two weeks, in the Town of Vestal alone.

“Just because overdose deaths are down, I don’t think it means that overdoses are down and I don’t think it means that the use of these drugs are down, and nor does it mean that the use of these drugs and then driving has decreased. I think it’s the opposite,” said Lieutenant Streno.

Vestal Police has had to take some extra steps to deal with the issue.

“Driving while under the influence of drugs has become such a problem that we have an officer who’s been specially trained. He’s federally certified as a drug recognition expert,” said Lieutenant Streno.

Also known as a DRE, that officer is trained to evaluate drivers and determine what type of drug they’re on and what influence it has over them.

While police acknowledge it’s a major problem, “There is a simple solution. Don’t do drugs and drive a motor vehicle. It is that simple,” said Lieutenant Streno.

The DRE who works with Vestal Police is only one of four in Broome County.

Vestal Police say as the drugged driving issue continues to grow, it’s looking to add more officers in that role.

Annabelle Flaherty

Annabelle Flaherty

More News

Your Weather Authority

Lake effect snow expected tonight

Lake effect snow expected tonight

  Tonight: Lake effect snow showers especially north and northeast. Accumulations: 1-2” possible in persistent snow over higher elevations and

Connect With WBNG
Top Stories

Historic Free Coburn Library to add new elevator

The Free Coburn Library in Owego is getting a makeover, adding a brand new elevator to increase library accessibility.

‘Red Carpet Inn’ in Endicott for sale

The owner of the Red Carpet Inn in Endicott says she hopes to either save the business or sell it

Early chill has local road crews preparing for winter weather

(WBNG) — It’s unreal to believe it’s halfway through October, and some late fall chill has already settled in. That

Greater Binghamton Airport hopeful for state funding

Broome County leaders say funding would help the airport tremendously and it's something they continue to apply for.

Endicott man dealing with murky, brown water in home

Jason Shaffer said brown water has been coming out of his shower, faucets, toilets and washing machine for nearly two

Scroll to top
Skip to content