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DUI Parking Lot

Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. -- The Commander's Action Line is a forum for the Ellsworth community to make suggestions or voice concerns about Ellsworth directly to Col. Mark Weatherington, 28th Bomb Wing commander. 

QUESTION 

I was writing today because I had a question in regards to the DUI parking lot. About four weeks ago my husband and I went out for a few drinks with some friends. We had one of our friends who was sober drive us home and another friend also sober followed behind in our car. Neither of our friends have base access so we told them to park our car in the DUI lot and to drop us off there and we would walk home, since it is only a short walk from the gate. When we got to the gate I told the officer that we had been drinking and had our friend park our car there and wanted to be sure that it was Ok to do so. I was informed by the officer that if our car was left there over night it would be towed. I ended up having to have a stranger move my car because I knew I wasn't able to drive and didn't want to have to pay a towing fee. What is the purpose of the DUI lot and could there be any exceptions for those people who are making the right decisions and choosing not to drink and drive. Could they have a place to park their car just until the morning when they are able to pick it up. Overall I was very frustrated with the whole situation because I had everything taken care of as far as getting us a safe ride home just to find out that I was unable to park my car there and the officer at the gate could not give me an answer as to where else to park it in town where it would not be towed.
Col. Mark Weatherington
Col. Mark
Weatherington
  RESPONSE

First, thank you for making a deliberate choice not to drink and drive.

Your suggestion has some merit, but I still have a couple concerns. First, the DUI Lot provides a parking area for base personnel that have had their base driving privileges revoked, and it is clearly marked for that purpose. Some members have previously used the lot to store their vehicle for extended periods of time or even to abandon an unwanted vehicle--ultimately costing the base and the Air Force money.

Second, some people may take advantage of a change like you suggest to drive drunk all the way back to the DUI lot before walking the final stretch to their base house or dormitory. So this change may actually encourage people to make a poor choice--driving drunk.

One alternative in your case would be to get your friend/DD a pass to enter the installation. This requires an ID, license, registration, and proof of insurance--and it would allow them to drop you and your car at your residence.

For these reasons, I will not direct a change to the current policy of towing unauthorized vehicles at the owner's expense.

Again, thanks for making a responsible choice and for your interest in preventing drunk driving.