Lubbock officer Sgt. Ross Hester makes 1,001st DWI arrest

A Lubbock police officer recently made his 1,001st DWI arrest in the Lubbock area.

“My thousandth DWI was not a goal I was striving for,” said Sgt. Ross Hester. Unfortunately, with a university in town and the growing size of Lubbock, “There’s lots of opportunity for DWI enforcement.”

With the growth of west Lubbock, Hester said many of his arrests have been in the Frenship area.

Hester said the 1,000th arrest was a 20-year-old man who was driving a truck too fast on 34th Street and hit a home while turning onto Quaker Street.

“That’s the reason why No. 1,000 sticks in my mind,” said Hester.

When he started his law enforcement career in 1987, Hester said he was very self-conscious about using a video tape to record DWI tests on suspects after arrests. After each one, he started telling himself, “That’s one down, that’s two down.”

Soon, counting the arrests became a habit, although Hester has a bit of a number fixation.

“Numbers are easy for me to remember,” he said.

Another alcohol-related accident also sticks in his mind. His third DWI arrest came after a wreck west of the loop when a three-year-old child was killed while in the car with her father.

“I can remember that one pretty clearly,” he said.

Hester was also once the victim of an alcohol-related crash. On Christmas of 1993, he was hit head-on by a drunk driver while in a marked police car.

“It impressed upon me how quickly life can change,” he said. “The gentleman who hit me was one who had never had so much as a parking ticket in his life. It was just a situation where he’d had too much to drink and was eager to get home.”

Although the combined closing speed of the accident was 95 miles per hour and his right knee went through the dashboard, Hester said he was not hurt. His knee was already numb from sports injuries, he said.

“I was wearing a seat belt, a thick jacket, and the air bags deployed,” he said. “To this day, all I can remember was the sudden glare of headlights.”

Of the man that hit him, he said, “He was a good, decent man.”

That’s what he says about a lot of the 1,001 people he has arrested over the years.

“The majority of the arrests are good decent people who put themselves in a bad situation when they decided to drink and drive,” he said. “And then there’s a few who are hardcore and don’t care who they affect.”

Although Hester is currently assigned to the juvenile section of the investigative section, he works DWI checkpoints for overtime money. He said the Texas Department of Transportation provides grants for police traffic control.

Hester’s father was a police officer in Houston for 26 years. He said he came to Lubbock to attend Texas Tech, where he got a degree in physical education, and he decided he liked the area and especially the people here.

“They’re more down to Earth. They have a tendency to tell you what they like and don’t like. They’re more honest,” he said.

In the future, Hester said he hopes to retire and go into coaching.

“I do some coaching of baseball with Lubbock High,” he said. “I’m lucky enough to do that.”

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