Massive crowds are expected Friday night at bars across Tampa Bay as thousands of people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It’s also one of the most dangerous nights on the road.
St. Pete Police Officers will be out in force, and they’ve enlisted some new detectives: local bar tenders.
Tyler Kelley works as a bartender at Five Bucks Drinkery. He takes his job seriously. Beyond pouring drinks, he’s constantly on the lookout.
“I think that’s the hardest part. We have to pay attention to everybody really get to know them and see how they look when they come in. If they are too intoxicated we will get them water and food before pouring them anything else,” Kelley explained.
Inside Five Bucks Drinkery on Central Avenue, Kelley has a wall of fake IDs, snatched from underage teens. He’s also not afraid to tell people when they’ve had enough to drink.
“Oh yeah, I’ll snatch their keys, I’ve tried to find their friends, called taxis for them,” he added.
On St. Patrick’s Day, he knows he’ll have those tough conversations again. The holiday falls on a weekend for the first time in four years and that means things will get chaotic…especially for police officers.
“It’s gonna be busy but we’ve added a lot of people downtown and we’re ready for it,” explained police spokesperson Rick Shaw.
Every 50 minutes someone dies in a booze related crash on St. Patrick’s Day, and this year St. Pete Police are bringing back their wolf pack, partnering with FHP to nab any drunk drivers. They’ll be patrolling the streets of St. Pete, as well as the intersections.
Samantha Lewis isn’t taking any chances. “I don’t plan to drive tonight, but I’ll be in before a certain time because you know what’s going to happen. Things will get out of control,” she said.
Emily Oliver is playing it safe too, “We got our parents to come pick us up so we don’t have to drive home tonight”
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