This photo from West Hennepin Public Safety shows vodka bottles that were among the open alcohol containers found in the vehicle of a suspected drunk driver arrested Wednesday.
The portion of Hwy. 12 that runs through western Hennepin County is dangerous enough without a drunk driver weaving in and out of traffic to make things worse.
On Wednesday afternoon, a concerned resident helped avert disaster by calling 911 to report a suspected inebriated driver near Maple Plain.
The West Hennepin Public Safety Department caught up with that impaired driver before anything bad happened. Officers found "numerous open alcohol containers" inside the driver's vehicle. The driver failed a roadside sobriety test and had a .20 percent blood-alcohol content, the department said on its Facebook page.
The driver, a 28-year-old Eden Prairie man, was arrested for second degree DWI on Hwy. 12 at Spring Avenue in Maple Plain at 2:47 p.m., said West Hennepin Public Safety Chief Gary Kroells. The driver was booked into the Hennepin County Jail and later released. Charges are pending.
In January, a drunken driver crossed the centerline in Delano and crashed head-on into another vehicle, killing Mayla Macon, 40, of Cokato.
A second person was killed just this week in a weather-related crash near County Road 92. Police identified her as Paige M. Duncan, 27, of Bloomington.
Public safety officials have been pushing to make the two-lane highway safer. Over the past five years, there have been 811 crashes on a 38-mile section of the highway that runs between Wayzata and through Wright County. The road built in the 1930s now carries more than 15,000 vehicles a day, by MnDOT counts.
The news of Wednesday's arrest brought lots of praise from motorists who drive that stretch of Hwy. 12.
"Thank you for diligently working to keep us safe on such a dangerous stretch of highway," wrote Lauren Collins on the West Hennepin Public Safety's Facebook page.
"I seriously dread this road,especially at this time,even more after the deadly accident 2 days ago,and just seeing this confirms my fear," another person wrote. "Why can't people have respect for other's lives? Stay off the road if you're drunk or have been drinking. Thank God for the call and Thank you WHPD for catching this person."