In Belmont County, people are already arriving at Jamboree In The Hills, even though the country music festival doesn’t start until Thursday.
The post commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol says they’re stepping up their enforcement this year with no tolerance for people driving impaired.
Last year at this time, troopers from all over Ohio were sent to Cleveland to patrol at the Republican National Convention.
This year, here at the highway patrol, they’re at full staff, and they’re bringing in extras.
“Well, this year we’re expecting record numbers of attendees at Jamboree In The Hills,” said Lt. James Faunda.
Lieutenant Faunda said that the patrol’s main goal is prevention, and to “try to deter people from driving while they’re impaired or using illicit drugs”.
Even with last year’s limited resources, the patrol took quite a few drivers off the road who were operating a vehicle while impaired.
“You know last year in a four-day period, we made 30 OVI arrests for people who were going to or leaving Jamboree In The Hills. This year we expect that number to be higher,” Faunda said.
And the public seems happy to hear about the patrol’s plans this year.
“It’s a good thing! We come from Sandusky. We’ve got Ohio Bike Week, they’re patrolling all the time there for us. On the bikes and everything else. If you’re gonna be at Jamboree In the Hills, you’d better stay at Jamboree In the Hills. Plain and simple,” said William Justice.
“You have a lot of people that are leaving there that shouldn’t be driving. So I think they need to patrol that area and make sure that everybody’s safe,” said Nancy Combs of St. Clairsville.
It’s not necessarily their goal to fill up the jail, but they hope their presence alone might deter impaired drivers.
“You know, you won’t be able to drive very far without seeing a trooper. If you’re consuming alcohol while you’re at the event, just stay at the event. Don’t go out on the roadway, endanger somebody else’s life or yours. In years past, we’ve had traffic fatalities of people leaving Jamboree In The Hills,” Faunda said.
Jamboree runs Thursday through Sunday.
We’ll bring you the latest on the highway patrol’s accomplishments.