Across Minnesota, authorities arrested nearly 140 people for drunken driving on Wednesday's Thanksgiving eve — nearly double the typical 74 arrests on past Thanksgiving eve nights.
The day before Thanksgiving, dubbed "Blackout Wednesday" and "Drinksgiving," has become a popular night out for partyers, with some bars reporting it's the biggest drinking day of the year. As a result, law enforcement statewide started cracking down on drunken driving arrests Wednesday and will continue to do so every weekend through Dec. 30.
According to the state Department of Public Safety, 137 people were arrested for drunken driving in Minnesota on Wednesday. Normally, authorities net 47 such arrests on an average Wednesday.
"We don't want any family to go through what we've been through," Hitesh Patel, the uncle of Ria Patel, a 20-year-old killed by an alleged drunken driver, said earlier this week about the crackdown. "There's so many options today — cabs, public transport, ride-shares … it's not worth taking that risk [driving drunk]; it's not worth ruining someone's life."
Minnesota police continued to be out in full force on Thanksgiving — when an average of 137 people are arrested for drunken driving — and will patrol through the weekend.