Campus’ first checkpoint yields no arrests

University Police did not encounter any drunk drivers after executing USF’s first roadside safety checkpoint early Saturday.

Officer Tom Bobrowski, who helped organize the checkpoint, said a total of 47 cars were stopped between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Maple Drive, just south of Fletcher Avenue.

Officers from the Temple Terrace Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s assisted UP efforts. 

Although it was the first on-campus checkpoint, Bobrowski said UP has been involved in assisting other agencies’ checkpoints off campus.

“We always go out and assist the county,” Bobrowski said. “They call it a DUI Wolfpack, or multi-agency checkpoint event. This is the first time we’ve hosted a checkpoint, and so far it’s been a good sign of things to come.”

Five traffic citations were written for seatbelt violations, failure to carry a driver’s license and failure to provide proof of insurance, among other similar violations, Bobrowski said. No arrests were made. The Florida Highway Patrol wrote two similar citations and six warnings.

Seven gift bags were awarded, as a “thank you” to designated drivers.

Officers looking for signs of impairment met motorists driving through the checkpoint, and seven other officers saturated the campus looking for checkpoint avoiders.

“We realize drinking and driving is a problem, especially on a holiday weekend,” UP spokesman Sgt. Mike Klingebiel said. “It’s a problem in all jurisdictions, and we are definitely affected by it.”

Two years ago Brandon Swenson and Alicia Bennington, both USF students, were killed in one of the most devastating traffic deaths on campus.

“Their car was absolutely obliterated,” Klingebiel said. “They were speeding through campus, trying to cut through undetected as a Hillsborough County Sheriff followed.

“Those are things we just want to stem. As long as people drink and drive, we’ll be doing this. We’ve got to take a more active role more so even now with the large population growth and high-density traffic in this area. There’s just too much at stake not to be involved.”

Bobrowski said there would be several on-campus checkpoints conducted throughout the year. Disclosure of the location and time of the checkpoints will not be announced until at least 24 hours of the day of operation, he said.

“We have to notify the public, but we also have to remember there is a reason for having a checkpoint, so to give that kind of information so far in advance would kind of counteract the point of it.”