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Wash. DUI Smashes 7 Cars In 13 Minutes

Police say a man driving away from a Spokane bar hit at least seven cars within 13 minutes, including one driven by an off-duty detective, before they arrested him for drunken driving.

Thirty-two-year-old Jason G. Cross was booked into the Spokane County Jail on Saturday on a charge of driving under the influence and seven charges of failure to leave information at the scene of an accident.

Police say they were alerted by someone at a bar in Browne's Addition, who told them a drunken driver was leaving in a pickup truck at 3:28 p.m. Saturday.

Cross was arrested at 3:41 p.m. after his pickup struck cars and then wedged between two vehicles stopped at a red light. Off-duty detective Neil Gallion was in one of the cars and followed Cross' pickup. Police say the pickup hit other cars before they caught up to Cross.

The news comes on the heels of a report by CBS Affiliate KREM that Washington State is too easy on drunk drivers, according to a new federal report.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Washington is one of 11 states that doesn't allow sobriety checkpoints.

"DUI checkpoints have been a proven product by reducing fatalities by about 24 percent in many instances," said Chief John Batiste, Washington State Patrol, told KREM correspondent Susannah Frame.

The last time DUI checkpoints were used in the state it was 1983.

Attorney Francisco Duarte says adopting a zero tolerance policy on drinking and driving would be more effective than checkpoints, by stopping people who have even one drink from getting into a car in the first place.

"The best way to do that is to simply say, 'Look. No one is permitted to drive a car after drinking alcohol because if you do, you've committed a crime,' and I guarantee you that will reduce the great number of DUI incidents," said Duarte.

The group Mothers Against Drunk Driving says random checks do work and Washington is behind by not using them.

"The point is to deter drunk drivers so people know law enforcement will be out there. They're going to be thinking, 'Let's designate a driver or take another form of transportation instead of driving impaired,'" said MADD President Laura Dean-Mooney.

In January, Gov. Chris Gregoire pitched legislation to bring back checkpoints. It didn't pass, but some lawmakers are determined to keep trying.

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