Cuenca traffic stops send 25 to jail Friday night while police face angry crowds

Apr 30, 2017 | 18 comments

Police made 25 drunk driving arrests Friday night and early Saturday morning during traffic stops on Av. Vicente Solano and Av. Remigio Crespo. Those arrested were sent directly to traffic jail for terms of five to 30 days.

A transit officer stops a driver on Av. Solano. (El Tiempo)

In both locations, large groups of friends and relatives of those arrested gathered to argue with police, claiming that Ecuador’s drunk driving law is too strict and that drivers should not go sent to jail. Some in the crowd became aggressive, police said, and there were incidents of pushing and shoving.

National police reinforcements were called to Remigio Crespo to disperse a crowd of about 30 at about 1 a.m. Saturday. “The situation was getting dangerous, and many in the crowd were drunk themselves,” said transit officer Jorge Ramos.

“We simply enforce the law, we didn’t write it,” Ramos told one protesting woman. “If you want to change the law, talk to your assemblyman.”

Ecuador has one of the toughest drunk driving laws in Latin America. All drivers registering .03% blood alcohol levels or higher go to jail if they are caught. In the U.S., the legal alcohol driving limit is .08%

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