Deputies make the most drunken-driving arrests on Highway 51
OWI arrests in Rock County
View map of OWI arrests in Rock County between July 1, 2008 and January 31, 2009.
JANESVILLE The Rock County road where a grandmother recently was killed in a drunken-driving crash also is the road where sheriff’s deputies have recently made the most drunken-driving arrests.
Debra J. Anderson had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit when she ignored a red light and collided with a pickup truck.
Her 9-year-old granddaughter had to be extricated from the front seat of the smashed car before being flown to Children’s Hospital in Wauwatosa.
Anderson, 47, Orfordville, was killed.
That Nov. 28 wreck happened on Highway 51, where the Rock County Sheriff’s Office has made more drunken-driving arrests in the past seven months than any other road in the county.
Deputies have made 25 drunken-driving arrests along Highway 51 since July 1, easily beating out highways 26, 11 and 14, according to sheriff’s reports.
“Obviously, Highway 51 is one of the main arteries running through Rock County, and it connects our two main cities—Janesville and Beloit,” Cmdr. Troy Knudson said. “There’s going to be more traffic on that highway.”
The sheriff’s office main station and south station also are near Highway 51, Knudson said, and more deputies likely patrol the road.
The Janesville Gazette reviewed more than 150 drunken-driving arrests by sheriff’s deputies from the past seven months. The reports indicate where and when arrests were made.
People are most likely to get caught drunken driving if they’re on Highway 51 in Rock Township between midnight and 4 a.m. on the weekend.
But they’re least likely to get caught drunken driving if they’re on a road in a rural township between 4 a.m. and noon on Tuesday.
The following trends were found in drunken-driving arrest reports.
Rock Township southwest of Janesville had 35 drunken-driving arrests, the highest number among Rock County municipalities. It accounted for 19 percent of total arrests.
However, the number doesn’t include drunken-driving arrests in municipalities with their own police departments. Sheriff’s deputies don’t patrol as heavily in cities such as Janesville and Beloit.
Janesville Township northwest of the city Janesville had 26 drunken-driving arrests, the second-highest number among municipalities. It accounted for 14 percent of total arrests.
The two sheriff’s offices are located in Rock and Janesville townships, possibly contributing to the number of arrests there, Knudson said.
Deputies also patrol areas with several bars and restaurants in Janesville Township, often making arrests, he said. The places are outside the Janesville Police Department’s jurisdiction.
The high number of arrests in Rock Township also can be attributed to Highway 51 and heavy traffic between Janesville and Beloit, Knudson said.
Nearly half—49 percent—of drunken-driving arrests happened between midnight and 4 a.m.
People tend to drink alcohol at night and into the early morning hours. Deputies search for drunken drivers every shift, but more offenders are on the road after midnight, Knudson said.
“It is actually happening more often in conjunction with bar time,” he said.
Twenty-seven percent of drunken-driving arrests occurred between 8 p.m. and midnight.
Day of the week
Sixty-three percent of drunken-driving arrests happened on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
“I don’t think that comes as a surprise to see that people are going out more on the weekend, and that’s when we’re seeing more incidents of operating while intoxicated,” Knudson said.
About half of all drunken-driving arrests occurred on Saturdays or Sundays.
The day with the fewest arrests was Tuesday.
Highways 51 and 26
Eight drunken-driving arrests occurred on Highway 51 between Beloit-Rock Townline Road and Airport Road. Three others happened off Highway 51 along the same stretch.
Eight arrests also were made on Highway 51 between Highway 14 and Edgerton.
On Highway 26, eight arrests were made between Humes Road in Janesville and Madison Avenue in Milton.
Highways 51 and 26 have more people traveling on them, contributing to the high number of alcohol violations, Knudson said.