|Published:||Mar 16, 2013 12:33 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Mar 16, 2013 1:20 AM EDT|
LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Saint Patrick's Day weekend is upon us. Restaurants and bars are dishing out the holiday staples, from corned beef to green beer. But police are warning drivers not to test their luck or sobriety on the roads.
From lights to shamrocks, downtown Fort Myers is going green. "It's a chance for everyone to pretend they're Irish," Red Rock Saloon Manager Ryan Walker said.
Even the normally Tex-Mex Los Cabos Cantina is showing its Irish spirit.
"$4 Shamrock o'ritas, that'll be green margaritas," Los Cabos Cantina Manager Mickey Ferry said. "We've got green tacos, green burritos, and of course, green chips and salsa. And, our guacamole is green, of course."
This year's St. Patrick's Day celebration will bring bands, corned beef, cabbage and gallons of green beer to the River District.
"We're going to go out for breakfast here and drink green beer until we can walk anymore," William Ketelaars said.
While downtown bars and restaurants are banking on big business, staff are trained to spot partiers who've had one too many green ales and know when to call them a cab.
"It should be a good time," Walker said. "We encourage everybody not to overdrink or get in trouble."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 34% of fatalities from motor vehicle crashes were connected to drunk driving on St. Patrick's Day.
"There may be an odor of an alcoholic beverage, or slurred speech, or they hand us maybe their credit card instead of their drivers license, things we know are indicators of impairment," Sgt. Dennis Petracca of the Lee County Sheriff's Office said.
Petracca said St. Patrick's Day results in more DUI arrests than even New Years Eve. Low-manpower checkpoints like the one they did Friday night in Lehigh Acres don't cost anything extra in terms of staffing, but getting just one drunk driver off the road is priceless.
"We're not against those who choose to drink, it's when they choose to drive," Petracca said.
If you've had too much to drink, you can still get home safely. AAA's Tow to Go service runs through Sunday. Member or not, they'll get you and your vehicle home for free. Just call (855) 2-TOW-2-GO.
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