Police patrolling for St. Patrick’s Day

Area bars are packed Thursday for St. Patrick’s Day and the first round of March Madness.

The manager at Buffalo Wild Wings in Carbondale, Illinois, Johnathan Savage-Russell, says they’ve been slammed all day. "Yeah, it’s this, and it’s boneless Thursdays, and St. Patty’s Day, so it’ll be a great day for us with customers coming in and out all day," Savage-Russell said.

"We been busy right since we opened the doors. People were lined up trying to come in and watch the game and they had their brackets in their hands,” said Savage-Russell.

Many people are also drinking green beer in honor of everything Irish, and the holiday is leading law enforcement to step up their patrols.

Joey Watson with the Illinois State Police says it’s one of the most dangerous days on the road.

"St. Patrick’s Day is becoming one of the larger holidays where alcohol is involved and abused," said Watson.

Watson reports 18 people were killed in Illinois from drunk driving crashes in 2014. He says that same year, 28 percent of all crashes on St. Patrick’s Day were alcohol related.

If you’ve had a few drinks to celebrate the holiday and you think you’re okay to drive yourself home, Illinois State Police say it won’t be long before you see them in your rear view mirror.

"We are aggressively stepping up our patrols in order to accomplish these goals, because one life lost is way too many," Watson said.

He says they’re hoping the extra patrols on the roads are enough to keep drunk drivers away from the driver’s seat.

Additional patrols by state police in both Illinois and Kentucky are already out looking for impaired drivers.

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