More checkpoints, patrols on St. Patrick’s Day weekend

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Not only will Piedmont bars be busy this St. Patrick's Day weekend. So will law enforcement.

The Highway Patrol will have checkpoints, unmarked cars and even a helicopter on patrol for drunk drivers. Winston-Salem Police also will have their DUI unit out.

Sgt. Philip Dixson with the Highway Patrol said St. Patrick's Day is one of their biggest DWI nights statistically.

There are plenty of options for people who've had too much to drink. Starting at noon Saturday, cabs constantly will be waiting outside downtown bars and restaurants.

Also, downtown hotels like the Marriott will offer rooms at a discount rate--$79 with the "Take the Elevator Home" special.

Several pubs like Finnegan's Wake, which is ready for its sixth block party with live entertainment, will have off-duty officers to try to deal with situations before they get worse.

"If they need assistance, we'll go and help them," said Sgt. Kevin Bowers with Winston-Salem Police's downtown bike patrol.

And if drunks somehow still make it out on the road, Sgt. Dixson has a strong message.

"I've done 26 death notifications. I can tell you every single one that I've done. I don't want to do another one, but I know I won't be that lucky," Dixson said. "Please don't drive drunk."

Finnegan's Wake will be open at 7 a.m., and there will be family events during the day.