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State cites progress capturing DWI fugitives

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New Mexico has tracked down 100 fugitives linked to drunken driving infractions since a roundup began late last year, Gov. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday.

Launched in December, the initiative directs State Police and a special absconder unit of the Department of Corrections to track down fugitives linked to DWI violations who have skipped out on parole or probation requirements.

Of the 100 fugitives detained, 55 had multiple DWI arrests or were linked to a killing while driving drunk.

The number of people killed in drunken driving crashes last year fell by 28 percent to 122 in New Mexico. That marks a 36-year low for such deaths in a state that has long struggled with high DWI rates.

“We’re going to continue doing everything we can to crack down on drunk driving, and that includes finding and capturing those who refuse to take responsibility for their actions,” Martinez said in a statement.

The governor’s office has unveiled a summer advertising campaign designed discourage drunken driving and texting while driving. The ads feature New Mexico State Police and dramatized scenes from fatal traffic crashes.

Martinez and the state Legislature this year created tougher sentencing guidelines for repeat DWI offenders.

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