JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Last year, 2,361 drivers were arrested for DUI in Duval, St. Johns and Clay counties as well as Atlantic, Neptune and Jacksonville Beach. Where were they arrested? What day? What time?
The I-TEAM analyzed data from these arrests to answer these questions, with the hopes it would help arm you with information to keep you safe as you travel this holiday season.
According to our analysis, three times as many men as women were arrested in 2015 for DUI. More specifically, men between the ages of 30 and 39 were among the largest age group followed by men between 21 and 29 years old. Men in these age groups account for nearly half of all the DUI arrests last year.
More women between 21 and 29 years old were arrested than any other age group followed by 30- to 39-year- olds. As both age groups get older, the numbers are still pretty high: 316 men between the ages of 40 and 49-years old were pulled over compared to 98 women arrested in that same age group.
Among 50- and 59-year-olds, 212 men were arrested for driving under the influence compared to 89 women last year. These figures suggest regardless of age, far more men than women are getting caught behind the wheel while impaired.
More drivers were arrested for DUI in 2015 early Sunday mornings -- between 1 and 3 a.m. -- than any other day or time. The second and third most frequent day and time: early Saturday mornings followed by Friday nights.
While it is no surprise that these arrests happen after the bars close on Friday and Saturday, we did not expect to see so many arrests on Sundays starting at 4 p.m. and then continuing through the night. DUI arrests spiked again on Monday afternoon at 5 p.m. and then again at 7 p.m..
By far the highest concentration of DUI arrests last year happened at or near the Beaches.
Atlantic Boulevard had the most -- 223 drivers -- with many of them closer to the Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean.
Beach Boulevard is a close second. 168 drivers were pulled over for DUI, and many of them occurred between San Pablo Road and the beach.
Third, is 3rd street, also known as A1A, which runs parallel to the ocean. Taking a closer look at DUI arrests there, the I-TEAM found a large number of arrests between 18th and 13th Avenue North -- closer to the Neptune/Jacksonville Beach border. DUI arrests spike again as you drive south between 8th Avenue North and 3rd Avenue South, near the heart of Jacksonville Beach nightlife.
The fourth road with the highest number of DUI arrests is Philips Highway, where police arrested 73 drivers last year -- mainly between Atlantic Boulevard and Baymeadows Road.
The fifth road is back towards the beach: Mayport. By our count, 67 drivers were pulled over between Atlantic Boulevard and Mayport Road last year.
"I've heard a judge say and I agree with him, the only difference between a simple misdemeanor DUI and a DUI manslaughter (case) is pure dumb luck. It can be a matter of a split decision," said Officer J.R. Garcia, with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office DUI unit.
"Last night, I had to make an arrest, it was almost a head on crash. It was cars going in opposite directions and the guy swerved over in front of this poor young girl and had he swerved a second earlier he would have hit her head on. Thankfully, her injuries were minor, but I walk up to this 17 year old girl who has blood all over her face and running down her neck and I see this guy who thinks he's fine, but he had to get home to take care of his dog," explained Officer Garcia about a drunk driver who nearly killed a teenager girl.
Garcia says most DUI drivers he has pulled over insist they are fine to drive.
"They consume alcohol to a certain level, they think they are fine, they drive home and they make it home. So the next time they do that, they do the same exact thing and they make it home. So now they've created this limit in their mind, I can drink this much and get home safely," explained Garcia.
He says what they don't realize is how alcohol or drugs can impact their ability to stop short if a bicycle or child darts out in front of their car or realize their slower reaction speed to stop at a red light. Those are the mental impairments that he says drivers under estimate.
He said by far the greatest number of DUI arrests he has made is drivers who combine prescription drugs with other prescriptions or with alcohol.
"The sad thing is, especially with women, even if they're using the medication as prescribed by their doctor, but then they go out and have one or two drinks on top of that and so the way their body is going to react to that is as if they drank more than they actually drank," said Officer Garcia.
"I remember within my first 2 months, I pulled up on my first traffic homicide. I had to see a 16 year old girl face down in the dirt because her 19 year old friend decided to drink on his birthday and rolled his truck and she was dead. It was horrible," said Garcia, as he recounted some of the worst DUI wrecks he's seen as a JSO officer.
"Maybe just as bad as that, once I had to see an 8 month old infant still in his car seat in the back of a JFRD rescue. His parent was the DUI driver and they had pulled in front of a car, failed to yield, they had not secured the car seat properly in the car and I just saw the child's lifeless eyes. That's why I do what I do," explained Garcia, who has four young children.
It's a reality Stephanie Glover lives with every day, since a drunk driver killed her son in January of 2015.
"Jacob was on his way to see a friend and he took the exit to Monument Road off I-295. He got bogged down in the mud so he was stuck on the side of the road," she told us tearfully.
Another driver, 27-year-old Robert Fisher -- a complete stranger but a Good Samaritan -- stopped to help 20-year-old Jacob Green that night. A sailor stationed at NAS Mayport, 22-year-old Leo Hayes, veered off the road and hit the two as they waited for a tow truck. Green and Fisher died.
"I think about Robbie Fisher every single day," said Glover.
Hayes died the next day. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Hayes' blood alcohol level was .10, which is over the .08 legal limit.
Green wasn't even supposed to be in town the night he died. He had planned to enter the military and was waiting until after his mother's wedding.
"Jacob was supposed to walk me down the aisle," said Glover.
They had also choreographed a special dance for that day.
Glover remembers the morning after her son died. She saw the wreck on the morning news.
"He was not answering his phone and I just got a really bad feeling deep in my gut, and it just started growing and growing," she explained.
She was so worried, she even called JSO for more information when she couldn't reach her son on his cell phone. She says she was told -- if it had been her son, she would already have been notified. She could not see any of the cars involved in the wreck in the TV coverage, and she left for work reassured that her son was fine.
The Florida Highway Patrol troopers just missed her.
"I had that really bad feeling in my heart when they came to the door," explained Durrell, Stephanie's husband.
He went with the troopers to his wife's office to give her the devastating news.
It was nine days before their wedding. "We canceled everything," he said.
More than a year later, the pain never gets any better.
"I can't hear his voice anymore or his laughter. He had the best smile. I just miss our relationship, our bond," said Glover.
Her son's room is now a sanctuary for her.
"It's where I go to be close to Jacob and talk to Jacob. I still feel like he's here," she cried.
His clothes are still in the closet, and pictures are pinned to a cork board of a handsome, happy, smiling, young man. A box of chocolates sit on a nightstand, a gift from his mother for her son on a Valentine's Day they would have spent together.
The car Jacob was driving that night was new. He had not even made the first payment.
"When something like this happens you always think, what could I have done differently? Even though I was nowhere near the crash, and even though he didn't cause the accident, you still feel [as a mother] some responsibility," she said. "Jacob had wanted us to cosign the car for him, but we felt like he needed to do this on his own. I still think, had I co-signed for him, could he have gotten a better car? Would he not have broken down that night?"
"I would lecture him, always have someone responsible enough to drive if you are drinking, don't ever get into a car with someone who has been drinking," Glover remembered telling her son.
She says she wishes now she had also warned him about other drivers on the road.
Stephanie Glover has not talked with Leo Hayes' family. When asked if there is anything she would say to Hayes, had he survived, she said, "I would ask him, was it worth it? It wasn't worth losing Jacob's life, it wasn't worth losing Robbie for sure, it wasn't worth losing your own life. It just wasn't worth it. I feel like Leo intentionally went out that night, he intentionally drank and he intentionally drove."
In the days after her son's death, Glover started having dreams about him. He had been excited about her wedding. Glover was a single mother. She raised Jacob and his younger brother on her own. He was happy she had finally found someone.
"Ever since Jacob was a little boy in bed with me, he would have me scratch his back and I probably did it a couple of times a week. Even as a teenager and young adult, he would crawl into bed and ask me to scratch his back. So I had a dream the day we were supposed to get married, that Jacob crawled into bed with me and asked me to scratch his back. I just knew that was his way of saying, 'everything is okay, I'm okay,'" Glover sobbed.
Taking it as a sign from her lost son, Stephanie and Durrell married each other that very day, in their backyard. Her younger son and Jacob's best friend walked her down the aisle.
"It had been storming the days before, but that day, the clouds opened up and the sun came out," described Durrell. "Jacob was right there with us, in spirit."
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