Increased patrols over the St. Patrick's weekend netted dozens of drunken drivers in the metro area by Sunday afternoon, but there were no reported fatalities linked to impaired driving.
Preliminary arrest numbers appeared low compared to previous years, said Sgt. Curt Mowers of the State Patrol. He said it will take several days to tally driving-while-intoxicated reports from law-enforcement agencies around the state.
But Mowers said he doubts the drunken-driving arrests during the holiday period will top the 346 of a year ago when March 17 fell on a Saturday.
State records show St. Patrick's Day drunken-driving has risen every year from 165 arrests on March 17, 2008, a Monday, as the holiday fell closer and closer to the weekend.
The patrol made 24 DWI arrests in the metro area from 6 a.m. Saturday through early afternoon Sunday, Mowers said. He said preliminary reports showed troopers arrested 17 more impaired drivers outstate in that period. Bloomington reported another nine from Friday night to early Sunday afternoon. The city had four extra officers patrolling on Saturday and Sunday nights.
Both Minneapolis and St. Paul held St. Patrick's parades on Saturday, and St. Paul police said they saw relatively few arrests Saturday, maybe because it was so cold compared to last year, when St. Patrick's was on a balmy Saturday.