- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 2, 2003

New Year's Day 2003 was mostly a quiet holiday in the Washington area, said police officials.

"The last couple of New Year's haven't been as bad because people plan their drinking routines. They're staying in houses or in hotels after their parties," said Sgt. William Vogt of the Maryland State Police. "It's better than a lot of holidays, because people plan what they're going to do."

Police said they made numerous arrests for drinking and driving, but said total numbers of arrests would not be available until today.

Dispatcher Dana Anthony of the Virginia State Police said there were "a lot of arrests" for driving under the influence, but "no major incidents."

Despite the arrests, Sgt. Vogt said there has been less drinking and driving in recent years.

"As the years have progressed, I've seen people be more responsible, and they plan their activities more than they have in the past," he said.

Yesterday was an unusually light day for hospital emergency rooms in the area.

Last year, two persons were killed in alcohol-related traffic incidents. On New Year's 2000, six persons died in alcohol-related traffic incidents, including a 35-year-old Gaithersburg man and his 7-year-old daughter.

Two years ago, on New Year's Day 2001, two men were killed by gunfire outside a Beltsville nightclub.

The new year's first homicides in the region occurred in Baltimore when two persons were found shot to death in a car around 2 a.m. yesterday morning.

In the District, a 20-year-old Northwest man was found shot in the head around 6 p.m. Tuesday, in the 1300 block of Perry Place NW, and was taken to a hospital in critical condition. His name was withheld because he is a witness to a crime, police said.

Prince George's police had a concentration of officers in the College Park area to prevent any celebrations related to the Maryland football team's 30-3 Peach Bowl win over Tennessee from getting out of hand, said Cpl. Joe Merkel.

"Fortunately, that stayed pretty quiet," he said.

This article is based in part on wire reports.


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