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DUIs up on Forsyth roads, BUIs down on Lake Lanier for Labor Day weekend
DNR boat safety
Law enforcement took the Forsyth County News to Lake Lanier before the holiday weekend to talk about how to stay safe on the water this summer. - photo by Paul Dybas

More people were arrested for driving under the influence in Forsyth County this Labor Day holiday weekend than last year, according to statistics from authorities, while the number of fatalities on Lake Lanier decreased.

From midnight on Friday, Sept. 1 through midnight on Monday, Sept. 4, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office responded to 37 traffic accidents and made 16 DUI arrests, said Cpl. Pete Sabella, a spokesman for the agency.

In 2015, there were about the same number of accidents — 36 — but only four people were arrested for DUI. Officials told the Forsyth County News last year that number was low.

Five of those accidents caused injuries, none of which were life threatening.

This weekend, one crash on Browns Bridge Road (Hwy. 369) at Pooles Mill Road involved “minor injuries with three people being transported to an area hospital,” Sabella said.

On the water, the Marine Patrol Unit with the sheriff’s office ran two boats “all weekend long” and issued two charges for boating under the influence (BUI) and eight citations and 25 verbal warnings for “various safety violations.”

Last year, the sheriff’s office made no BUI arrests.

The lake was not all quiet this weekend.

A 35-year-old man from Gainesville drowned while swimming with his girlfriend in a Lake Lanier cove Monday afternoon.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources sonar imaging equipment and Hall County Sheriff’s Office divers found the body of Quincy Larae Finch about three hours after he went missing underwater by the Dawsonville Highway bridge near Gainesville Marina.

Deputies with the DNR Law Enforcement Division reported two BUIs, one boating incident and two boating injuries on Lanier between 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2 and 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4. There were no reported alcohol-involved boating incidents this year, according to Mark McKinnon, spokesman for the agency.

That number has gone down from previous years. In 2016, seven people were arrested for BUI, and eight were in 2015.

Last year, there were three boating incident injuries and two drownings on Lanier.