Drunk drivers decrease

Motor-vehicle offenses, including the number of drunken drivers, decreased in St. Joseph County last year compared to 2012.

District Court Judge Jeff Middleton provided details during his annual report Tuesday before the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners. His news, however, came with a caveat, as Middleton said he suspects the decrease was the result of fewer law-enforcement officials on the roads than in years past.

District Court fielded 163 new cases of operating while intoxicated in 2013. That figure was down from 203 in 2012 and 200 in 2011. Overall, the court handled 7,671 new misdemeanor and civil traffic cases last year. That marks a substantial decrease from 9,086 in 2012 and 10,415 in 2011.

Middleton, who is up for re-election and is running unopposed for a six-year term in the August primary, also elaborated on sobriety court. He said 25 participants in 2013 successfully completed the comprehensive program.

The court collected more than $1.4 million in fees last year.

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