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Operation Nighthawk aims to crackdown on drunk drivers across Pennsylvania

State troopers, police officers hope Operation Nighthawk prevents people from drunk driving
State troopers, police officers hope Operation Nighthawk prevents people from drunk driving 02:19

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Operation Nighthawk is spreading across the Commonwealth on Saturday night --- aimed at putting the brakes on drunk drivers.

The initiative remembers Pennsylvania State Troopers Martin Mack and Branden Sisca, and a pedestrian. All three were killed on Interstate 95 in March by an alleged drunk driver.

About 80 troopers and police officers from across the Philly region are heading out Saturday night. As these officers leave, their mission to stop impaired drivers takes on new urgency.

Before patrolling the streets for impaired drivers, Abington police sergeant Joseph Blythe says he and 80 officers and troopers met with the families of Mack and Sisca, who investigators say were hit and killed along I-95 last March by a suspected drunk driver.

"It lets us know that this is, we have to continue enforcement," Sergeant Blythe said. 

That enforcement Saturday night into Sunday morning will involve roving DUI patrols instead of the traditional one checkpoint in one location.


"It gives us a lot more area to cover and we have specifically trained officers that can detect drug impairment as well as alcohol impairment," Sergeant Blythe said. 

Sergeant Blythe says the number of people they've pulled over who've been impaired by drugs like marijuana has dramatically increased, especially with new laws decriminalizing the drug.

"It's very important to understand even if you have a medical marijuana card and you have a prescription for it, that still doesn't make it legal for a person to operate under the influence,"  Sergeant Blythe said.

And they hope to influence people who may think about driving impaired to consider the wide-reaching impact of their decision.

"It affects families,"  Sergeant Blythe said. "It affects the first responders that work the scenes as well as impacting those who are injured in these accidents."

Police are reminding people if they see officers or troopers with flashing lights to move over and slow down. 

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