Metro Reports Decrease in Alcohol-Related Citations - NBC4 Washington
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Metro Reports Decrease in Alcohol-Related Citations

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    Security camera videos show an intoxicated passenger suffering a big fall inside the Ballston Metrorail station in Virginia in the early hours of New Year’s Day. News4's Scott MacFarlane reports. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015)

    Security camera videos show an intoxicated passenger suffered a large fall inside the Ballston Metro rail station in Virginia in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

    The videos, obtained by the News4 I-Team, show the 22-year-old man fall from a wall into a utility space below. Though police reported the man was transported to the hospital with injuries, videos show the passenger attempted to climb out on his power.

    This incident occurred around 1:30 a.m. New Year’s morning, at the apex of the traditional holiday revelry. A Metro official said police reported the man was highly intoxicated at the time.

    In late 2013, the I-Team revealed a series of similar incidents, in which Metro rail passengers suffered severe falls, walking through stations while suspected of being intoxicated.

    Metro Transit Police Chief Ronald Pavlak said the incidents are an indication that intoxicated passengers might instead want to use a cab service.  

    "If you find yourself in that intoxicated a state, look for alternate means or travel with a friend who is not intoxicated," Pavlak said.

    Metro officials said the agency has made progress in reducing the frequency of alcohol-related violations inside stations and trains. The agency deploys plain-clothes officers to help monitor and secure platforms.

    The I-Team’s review of agency crime reports and records show an approximately 30 percent decline in alcohol-related police citations by Metro transit police between 2013 and 2014, including a reduction in citations for public drunkenness.

    The identities of the victims of the recent falls were not disclosed in public reports available by the Metro transit police department.

    Joseph Kitchen, a former member of the Metro Riders’ Advisory Council said the agency is wise to focus on alcohol enforcement. Kitchen said many of the security incidents inside rail facilities are triggered by intoxicated passengers.

    “The issues we have are people who are under the influence in some way and unable to control themselves, so they are antagonizing other passengers," Kitchen said.

    “We certainly don’t want people driving drunk. But if you’re too drunk to walk or stand, consider a cab instead,” Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel said.

    He added ride-sharing services, like Uber and Lift, give intoxicated bar patrons additional options for safe trips home.