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2,228 drunk drivers arrested over holidays; Douglas County driver was 4 times over the legal limit

Alexandria police officers made 12 drunk driving arrests over the holidays

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ST. PAUL — Troopers, deputies and police officers statewide made 2,228 DWI arrests during the holiday DWI campaign from Nov. 23 through New Year’s Eve. The arrest numbers compare with 2,012 DWI arrests during the 2021 campaign.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office made 26 drunk driving arrests during the crackdown. The driver with the highest blood alcohol concentration was 0.33, more than four times over the legal limit of 0.8. It was also the fifth highest level in the state.

Alexandria police officers made 12 drunk driving arrests over the holidays. The driver with the highest blood alcohol content was 0.17 – more than double the legal limit.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety coordinates the campaign with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The campaign includes extra patrols and advertising in support of the Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety program.

“When a person is impaired, smart decisions aren’t going to happen. Law enforcement saw that repeatedly during the holiday DWI campaign,” said OTS director Mike Hanson. “One bad decision can put so many people at risk. Thankfully, law enforcement stopped those decisions from further endangering lives. Plan a safe ride home if you’re going to drink, take medications or consume other drugs like THC edibles that may put you at risk of a DWI.”

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The OTS provided some examples of the arrests that were made:

  • A trooper in Roseau found a 58-year-old man passed out in the driver’s seat of a vehicle stuck in a snowbank. The man’s foot was on the accelerator, the engine was revving at high RPMs and there were open bottles in the vehicle. The man had a 0.21 BAC.
  • Faribault police stopped a 37-year-old male driver for speeding. He was arrested for DWI with a 0.15 BAC. There were five kids in the car under age 15. Four out of the five children were not wearing seat belts. The driver was also cited for driving after revocation and speeding.
  • A Minnesota State Patrol trooper arrested a 60-year-old female driver near North Branch for DWI with 0.11 BAC. She had left a Thanksgiving lunch and was on her way to a Thanksgiving dinner. She was speeding 92 mph in a 70, unsafely passing other motorists, and had an open alcohol bottle under the driver’s seat.
  • A Mounds View officer was conducting a traffic stop when his marked squad car was almost struck by another vehicle. The officer then pulled over the vehicle that almost hit his car and the driver was arrested for DWI with a 0.13 BAC.

Law enforcement agencies also were looking for drugged driving impairment.
In Greater Minnesota, the highest BACs reported included:

Dodge County Sheriff's Office: 0.38

Swift County Sheriff’s Office: 0.38

Minnesota State Patrol Detroit Lakes district: 0.366

Rogers Police Department: 0.365

Douglas County Sheriff's Office: 0.33

Wright County Sheriff's Office: 0.33

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Minnesota State Patrol Rochester district: 0.31

In Greater Minnesota, agencies with the most DWI arrests during the campaign included:

Minnesota State Patrol Rochester district: 70

Wright County Sheriff's Office: 38

Minnesota State Patrol Virginia district: 36

Stearns County Sheriff's Office: 35

Rochester Police Department: 31

If you feel different, you drive different

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Public safety officials warn there's more than one way to risk a DWI and other lives on the road. In addition to alcohol, abuse of prescription medications, antidepressants, opioids, THC edibles, sleep aids, over-the-counter drugs and illegal drugs can affect safe driving abilities. Drugged driving accounted for 6,941 DWI incidents from 2012-2016 compared with 15,747 from 2017-2021.

According to the OTS, Minnesotans can prevent impaired driving by designating a sober driver, using a safe, alternative transportation option or staying at the location of the celebration.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
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