DUI arrests with minors in vehicle are higher than normal

Authorities say the number of intoxicated drivers arrested while children are in the car is rising in District 8, which includes Grays Harbor, Pacific, Mason, and other counties.

The Washington State Patrol says that there has been an increase in the arrest of drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs whose passengers are children under the age of 16.

District 8 has averaged 30 DUI arrests with minors annually between 2007 and 2017. The district is only two arrests away from that average so far this year. WSP troopers arrested 28 DUI drivers with minors in the vehicle from January to July 2018, 11 of which occurred within the month of July.

According to troopers, some of the recent arrests involved a 16-year-old passenger in Elma and 2 cases in Pacific County; one featuring two 11 year olds and another with a 2 year old.

In addition to a DUI charge, those caught driving with a minor in the vehicle could face additional charges of reckless endangerment for each minor passenger in the vehicle. WSP also contacts Child Protective Services, no matter the relation between driver and minor passenger.

The WSP is asking for help from the public in finding DUI drivers.

“Those who observe vehicles exhibiting signs of a possible driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs are asked to call 9-1-1 so law enforcement can respond.“

They remind drivers that calls to 9-1-1 to report emergencies are exempt under the new cell phone driving laws.

Examples of driving behaviors that could be indicators the driver is possibly under the influence include:

  • Lane travel
  • Shoulder driving
  • Erratic braking
  • Erratic lane changes
  • Stopping short or beyond stop lines
  • No headlights activated after dark
  • Excessive speed
  • Impeding traffic / inconsistent speeds

Do not attempt to contact a driver you feel is under the influence. Call and report the vehicle to 9-1-1 and follow the prompts provided by dispatchers. When calling, provide dispatchers with the license plate, make, model and color of the vehicle, as well as your location and any descriptions of the driver.

In some situations, when deemed safe, dispatchers will ask for updates on the vehicle’s location and driving behavior. If the dispatcher deems the situation unsafe to have the caller continue following the vehicle, they will ask for that caller to stop. The WSP requests callers adhere to the suggestions provided by dispatchers.

Those who report a DUI driver may be asked to provide a written statement. Be sure to provide your name, phone number and email to dispatchers so investigating troopers can contact you.



In July, 2018, Washington State Patrol District 8 troopers investigated the following cases of DUI with minors in the vehicle:

Date County Location Incident type Children
July 4, 2018 Mason County SR 106, MP 17

(South of Belfair)

One car-blocking


July 4, 2018 Pacific County Oregon Avenue

North and 13th Street

Northeast, Long


Traffic stop Two 11-year-olds
July 5, 2018 Grays Harbor SR 12 MP 15

(West of Elma)

Traffic stop 2-year-old
July 9, 2018   Kitsap County SR 3 at SR 303


Traffic stop 10-year-old and 4-year-old
July 15, 2018 Kitsap County SR 3 at SR 308

(North of Silverdale)

One-car, blocking,

injury collision

July 21, 2018 Pacific County SR 4 in Cathlamet Traffic stop (called

in as an erratic)

July 23, 2018   Clallam County SR 112 and Front St.

(Port Angeles)

One-car, injury


July 27, 2018    Mason County Lake Nahwatzel Traffic stop (called

in as an erratic)

July 28, 2018   Kitsap County SR 16 at Sedgwick

(Port Orchard)

Traffic stop 9-year-old
July 28, 2018 Kitsap County 4200 Block Kitsap

Way (Bremerton)

Traffic stop 15-year-old
July 29, 2018 Grays Harbor SR 8, MP 10


Traffic stop (called

in as an erratic)





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