Officials search for answers of wrong way drivers on Long Island

December 21, 2010 3:22:38 PM PST
Three people today were arraigned today on Long Island on charges of driving the wrong way.

Police say they were all driving drunk.

There have been at least nine cars of wrong way driving in the last month.

Some are blaming a cutback in enforcement for so many dangerous incidents.

Prosecutors say it's a miracle Ralph Cerullo didn't kill anyone, after drinking as many as five martinis in less than four hours, and then he allegedly cruised up an off ramp of Sunrise Highway, and hurtled down the road, in the wrong direction.

In another incident, Christopher Williams was heading back from a party in the Hamptons when a cop spotted him driving the wrong way on Sunrise Highway.

And then there's Timothy Griffin, who allegedly made a U-Turn on the eastbound lanes of the LIE, and then drove against traffic.

He was allegedly high on pot, his blood alcohol level, three times the limit, when deputies finally boxed him in.

Suffolk County DA Tom Spota calls it an epidemic. In fact, in the past month, his office has charged nine people who drove the wrong way.

"We need education and most importantly, enforcement," said Spota.

Suffolk County sheriff Vincent DeMarco says he lacks the manpower he needs for that enforcement.

His office patrols Sunrise Highway and the LIE, but he's lost 17 deputies to retirements over the last two years.

And with a hiring freeze imposed by County Executive Steve Levy, those positions are still empty.

Tomorrow, the sheriff will unveil this new mobile arrest unit, to help deputies process drunk drivers and get back on the road faster.

But he and Spota insist nothing will solve the problem like more deputies on the road.

"We all need more resources in law enforcement. I'm sure the DA will tell you he needs more prosecutors. I need more correction officers. I need more deputy sheriffs and I'm sure the police department needs more police officers," adds DeMarco.

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