There was the woman Fairmont police arrested for drunken driving twice in a week — once on Christmas Eve and again on New Year’s Eve. Both times, she was driving on the wrong side of the road.
In St. James, more than two hours after a man was arrested for drunken driving in the Mankato area, his passenger was arrested on the same charge in the same vehicle as he drove to the city’s Police Department to pick up his friend.
And a woman with a .36 preliminary breath test was arrested by police in Mille Lacs County for DWI after driving more than 100 mph and sideswiping another vehicle.
They are among the 2,656 motorists arrested in Minnesota during a 2017 holiday DWI enforcement period that ran from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve.
The state Department of Public Safety (DPS) said Wednesday that more people were arrested for driving under the influence during the 2017 holiday season than were arrested in the same period the previous year. In 2016, authorities arrested 2,407 people.
The State Patrol’s east metro district had the most holiday arrests, with 175, followed by 160 in the west metro and 82 by Minneapolis police.
Outside the metro area, the top arresting agencies were the State Patrol’s Rochester district with 68 and the Duluth district with 47.
The legal blood-alcohol limit to operate a motor vehicle in Minnesota is .08 percent. A woman arrested in Mille Lacs County had a blood-alcohol count more than four times that. Statewide numbers show that 12 drivers had levels at .35 percent or higher.
In releasing the numbers, the DPS also reminded drivers to come up with a “sober game plan” during Super Bowl festivities. From 2011 to 2015, an average of 180 people were arrested for DWI during Super Bowl weekend.
“The Super Bowl will be a great event, but it’s important for anyone who’s out celebrating to have a sober game plan,” DPS communications director Bruce Gordon said in a prepared statement.
Preliminary numbers show that 348 people died on state roads last year, the lowest number of fatalities in the state since 1943, when 274 people died.
“Nobody plans on getting behind the wheel and taking a life, but that’s exactly what you are risking if you decide to drive after drinking,” DPS safety director Mike Hanson said in the news release. “The message is simple: Before watching the big game or heading out to enjoy an evening that may include alcohol, plan ahead and line up a sober ride.”