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DUIS on rise at McConnell

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It's only May, and Team McConnell has had six driving under the influence incidents so far in 2007. That's twice the number of DUIs the base had in 2006 at this time. The base had a total of 11 DUIs in 2006.

Here are the circumstances surrounding the past three DUIs:

Incident one
On March 25, at approximately 3 a.m., a 22nd Security Forces Squadron member patrolling the residential side of base noticed a vehicle turn into the youth center parking lot, circle the building and then head for and cross Rock Road to the main gate to base.

The security forces patrolmen stopped the vehicle and noticed the driver had bloodshot eyes, was chewing a large wad of gum and smelled strongly of alcohol. The patrolman asked the driver to produce his license. The driver complied but presented both his license and a credit card.

The driver consented to and failed a standard field sobriety test. The patrolman apprehended the driver for diving under the influence of alcohol. The driver was under 21 and had a blood alcohol content of .085 percent.

The driver turned out to be an enlisted 22nd Operations Group member. He received a one-year notice of suspension/revocation of base driving privileges and a Department of Defense Form 1408, and Armed Forces Traffic Ticket. Security forces also notified the state Department of Motor Vehicles of the offense.

Incident two
On April 20, at approximately 12:10 a.m., a Sedgwick County Jail representative notified McConnell's Emergency Response Center that the jail had a military member in custody for a DUI.

The individual was apprehended by the Wichita Police Department at approximately 11:23 p.m. after being involved in a traffic accident at the intersection of Mosley and Murdock streets in downtown Wichita.

The police suspected the McConnell member of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, so they asked him to take a breathalyzer test. His blood-alcohol level was .215 percent, more than twice the legal limit. The legal limit in the state of Kansas is .08 percent.

There were no injuries sustained in the accident. The individual was an officer from the 22nd Operations Group. The officer was charged with a DUI and inattentive driving. The individual's vehicle was impounded and the officer given a notice of suspension/revocation of base driving privileges for one year.

Incident three
On April 21, a squadron first sergeant contacted the MERC and reported an individual from his unit had been arrested in Andover, Kan., for a DUI. The individual registered a blood-alcohol level of .16 percent. In addition, the individual received a notice of suspension/revocation of base driving privileges for one year.

The person was an enlisted member from the 22nd Maintenance Group

Punishments
All the above cases are pending commanders' actions.

Airmen who get DUIs can receive an Article 15, a letter of reprimand, a demotion, an unfavorable information file, extra-duty days, monetary punishment and/or more. They also automatically lose their on-base driving privileges for at least one year.

They also must appear before their squadron and wing, or vice wing, commanders in full service dress to explain themselves.

In addition, they must attend the Air Force's Alcohol, Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program, a requirement for all servicemembers involved in alcohol-related incidents.

These possible punishments can be levied against an individual in addition to possible state and local punishments that may also apply.

(Information provided by the 22nd Security Forces Squadron)