'Black Wednesday' celebrations monitored by police as bar specials abound
November 27, 2013 (NAPERVILLE, Ill.) (WLS) -- Thanksgiving is a holiday known for over-indulgence. And too much food and too much drink can not only lead to a holiday hangover, they can lead to a deadly danger on the roads.
That's why some law enforcement agencies have dubbed Wednesday "Black Wednesday," because Wednesday night is their busiest night of the year for drunk drivers.
Drink specials are out. Wednesday night will be a big party for some, almost as big as New Year's Eve.
"It's starting to get really big lately, especially with the college being so close - North Central College. Everybody's home. They are going to party tonight," said Raffi Demerdjian, The Wise Boxer Pour House general manager.
Merchants are taking extra precaution in Naperville - more alert staff and security for the night before Thanksgiving that some call Black Wednesday.
"We start with our valets and let them know to be aware, make sure they keep us informed," said Randy Deguzman, Sullivan's, general manager. "Our staff to check IDing, make sure to look for intoxicated guests, and we want to make sure to get them home safe."
An overnight parking ban in Naperville will be lifted Wednesday night only, in case those celebrating celebrate too much and need to leave their cars. Naperville police will have extra patrols to keep those celebrating off the road.
"I definitely recommend not drinking and driving," said Cmdr. Lou Cammiso, Naperville Police Department. "We have numerous cabs that are constantly flowing, taking people home at night. Just don't over indulge."
State police sounded a similar warning. Last Thanksgiving eve, state police gave out 200 DUI citations statewide. Authorities urge those who drink to have an alternate travel plan after the party is over, so revelers make it safely to Thanksgiving.
For recent college grads Zach Poindexter and Wilbur You, Wednesday night is about catching up with high school friends.
"It's going to be a crazy night, but we'll be responsible... Mom," You laughed.
"I'm going to try to pace myself, so I can enjoy the night," Poindexter laughed.
"It's comparable to New Year's Eve. Our liquor sales will be higher probably tonight than they will be on New Year's Eve," Demerdjian said.
"Last year we went out, and some bars were two-hour waits outside, and you can't even walk around after 9:00. So we got here early this year," You said.
But all that revelry can have a price... Emergency room doctors at Naperville's Edward Hospital also have this date marked on their calendars.
"Police bring in a lot of drunken drivers but also hypothermia-related injuries as well, extremity injuries from falls due to alcohol use," said Dr. Scott Padalik, Edward Hospital.
"They'll probably do one or two walk-throughs throughout tonight, just to make sure everybody's on good behavior, let the customers know there is a police presence in town," Demerdjian said.
"We plan on taking a cab back tonight. That way we're not driving. No one's in danger," You said.
The bars in Naperville tonight close at 2 a.m. Police say their beefed up presence on Black Wednesday has paid off in recent years. They say the number of DUI citations issued has dropped significantly.
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