By Daniel Borunda / El Paso Times
El Paso police will use search warrants to get blood samples from suspected drunken drivers who refuse breath tests in a controversial pilot program that begins tonight.
Esparza was joined by Police Chief Richard Wiles and Virginia Gonzalez, executive director of the El Paso chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who supported the program as a way to discourage intoxicated drivers.
Esparza and Wiles said the initiative is necessary because more than half of the 50 traffic deaths in El Paso this year involved drunken drivers. And about 50 percent of people arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated refuse to take the breath test, making prosecution more difficult.