Mesa officer pulls weapon on driver at DUI checkpoint

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

MESA, Ariz. -- Officers at a DUI checkpoint had some tense moments on this Labor Day, when a Mesa police officer pulled his weapon on a suspected drunk driver.

Although Labor Day is a great opportunity to soak up the sun at Saguaro Lake and on the Salt River, officers say many folks take the fun too far, by drinking too much, then getting behind the wheel.

With the number of law enforcement agencies running saturation patrols, there was no shortage of DUI busts.

"If they have been drinking and are determined to be impaired, they will be arrested and brought back to our van here at Power Road and the 202, where they'll be processed," says one officer.

But while most suspected drunk drivers are pulled over with little drama, one situation Monday turned into a nail-biter.

A Mesa motorcycle officer was forced to pull his weapon on a speeding suspect who had allegedly reached for a sidearm.

"Officer Schwinn approached the vehicle, and he noticed that the driver was very nervous," Sgt. Sean Kelley tells 3TV.  "He asked the driver if he had any weapons and at that time the gentleman said 'Yes, I have a gun.' The driver reached to the side where Officer Schwinn couldn't see, and actually pulled a gun out of a holster. Officer Schwinn immediately drew back, drew his weapon, gave verbal commands, and fortunately for the driver, he dropped his weapon."

Following a field sobriety test, that driver was taken to the mobile command center, and was booked for driving under the influence.

"The main thing I want people to know is that we're out there and we're looking for impaired drivers," police tell us.

There are a number of people who are legally able to carry a sidearm. But if you are pulled over and a police officer approaches your vehicle, let them know immediately that you have that sidearm, and make sure to keep both hands on the wheel.