The Minnesota Department of Public Safety keeps coming up with fresh ways to send the warning that it’s not OK to drink and drive.
This week, the agency released a new video called "Locked Up: A DWI Booking." It shows what happens to a motorist arrested on a drunken-driving charge, from the time an offender is handcuffed and placed in a squad car to the sequence of events at the jailhouse. It coincides with the annual increase in drunken-driving enforcement over the New Year’s weekend.
The video comes even closer to real life because the role of the criminal is played by Craig Barnd. On Jan. 31, 2002, Barnd was driving drunk when he got involved in a crash that killed Nancy Robling, a mother of four.
He was taken to the Scott County jail. There he was given a breath test, photographed, fingerprinted and outfitted in an orange jail suit. Then he was paraded to a cell with other inmates watching.
“It was very humiliating,” he says in the video that re-enacts the night he was booked into jail.
It shows the process drivers caught for driving under the influence can expect.
Barnd, who has been sober since that crash nearly 14 years ago, played the role of the criminal to encourage revelers to plan for a sober ride and not make the choice he did.
“There is guilt and low self-esteem,” he said. “You are risking your reputation, integrity, bank account, vehicle, driver’s license, your life and maybe somebody else’s life. If I drink and drive again, this is where I will come back to.”
In addition to the humiliation of jail, longer-term consequences of a drunken-driving arrest can include hefty fines and legal fees, loss of a driver’s license and possibly an ignition interlock starter placed in the car.
Last year, 25,258 motorists — about 70 per day — were arrested on drunken driving and taken to jail. Over the past five years, 479 people have died in crashes involving a drunken driver, including 88 in 2014. According to the Department of Public Safety, 12 percent of fatalities over that same five-year period happened during the New Year’s holiday.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768