Cinco de Mayo celebrations come with drunken driving warnings

Cinco de Mayo celebrations are planned for L.A. Live and Dodger Stadium tonight, while law enforcement agencies across Los Angeles County will be looking for drunken drivers.

L.A. Live's inaugural family friendly Cinco de Mayo festival will be held from 6-10 p.m. at Nokia Plaza, featuring performances by the Latin percussion legend Poncho Sanchez, Sheila E & The E Family and the pop and R&B sounds of Varsity Fanclub.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will mark Cinco de Mayo at tonight's game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium with Mariachi bands, Ballet Folklorico and Latin music.

Bernardo Osuna, the host of Univision's "Accion Deportiva Extra," will throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

With a variety of other special events planned and many establishments discounting drink prices in connection with Cinco de Mayo, the Los Angeles County Avoid the 100 DUI Taskforce will deploy overtime patrols and conduct drunken driving checkpoints.

Additionally, the California Highway Patrol will saturate the freeways in pursuit of drunken drivers, said Glendora police Chief Chuck Montoya, who heads the task force.

Los Angeles police Officer Don Inman joined Montoya in encouraging the public to plan a safe way home before the festivities begin. They suggested:

– designating a sober driver;

– calling a taxi, friend, family member or using public transportation to go home;

– calling 911 when seeing a possible drunken driver on a street;

– and taking away the keys from someone who is about to drive impaired and help them get home safely.

Cinco de Mayo marks the victory on May 5, 1862, of a ragtag 4,500-strong militia under the command of Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza over a larger, well-equipped French expeditionary force at the original Battle of Puebla.

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