Celebrating ‘Drunksgiving?’ New Hampshire State Police Advise to Think Twice
New Hampshire law enforcement will team up with Maine and Massachusetts law enforcement looking for drunk drivers during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, especially Wednesday night, a night known for heavy drinking.
The occasion of those returning home for the holiday weekend catching up with friends has gained the nickname "Drunksgiving" and "Blackout Wednesday." On Thanksgiving weekends in New Hampshire between 2018 and 2022, there were seven fatalities and 13 injuries.
It's a trend New Hampshire law enforcement aims to reverse.
“We are urging everyone to make the right choice and to refuse to drink and drive,” said New Hampshire Office of Highway Safety spokesperson Tyler Dumont said at a Tuesday press conference at the Seabrook rest area on Interstate 95.
In 2021, there were 118 people killed in crashes on New Hampshire roads. Of those crashes, nearly 70% were alcohol and/or drug-related.
“In these upcoming days, if you do choose to travel, we ask you to take some certain precautions. Simply, plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time to get from point A to point B. Don’t rush and don’t crowd others on the drive over to where you’re going,” New Hampshire State Police Lt. Joseph Ronci, Commander of Troop A, said. “If you do choose to drink, please designate a driver ahead of time.”
Massachusetts State Police Capt. Kathryn Downey said that police in all three states along the I-95 corridor are deploying additional patrols focusing on impaired, dangerous, and distracted drivers who could potentially cause a crash.
A crash in the early hours of Thanksgiving in 2022 at the Portsmouth Traffic Circle claimed the life of Drew Ceppetelli, 21, of Barrington. Driver Tyler Troy's blood alcohol level was .224, according to State Police at a New Hampshire State Liquor Commission hearing on November 15.
The commission's enforcement division is trying to prove that the Portsmouth Gas Light served Troy even though he was "visibly drunk." Several staff members disagreed with that assessment, and testified that his appearance and behavior did not raise concerns, according to a WMUR report.
A commission investigator testified that Troy told a Portsmouth police officer who responded to the accident that he was impaired
"I was driving. I was trying to be cool. I think I killed my friends," the investigator said Troy told the officer.
Troy was indicted by a Rockingham County grand jury on several charges negligent homicide and aggravated DWI. He is out on bail pending a trial in May.