Smashed: The toll of driving drunk in Minnesota

Tougher DWI law

Minnesota raising the stakes for drunken drivers

On July 1, tougher punishment will become law, targeting people such as Paul Garay, recently jailed on his 20th DWI. Updated May. 31, 2011

  • In Minnesota, drunken drivers who kill someone with their car sometimes get less time behind bars than nonviolent offenders. Public safety advocates say it's part of a culture of forgiveness surrounding drunken driving, a social problem that killed 893 people on Minnesota roads in the past five years. Read the Star Tribune's in-depth look at the scourge of drunken driving, the victims it claims and the public safety questions it raises.

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Briana Klindworth's father, Keith Klindworth.

Ann Marie Martinson

Danny Lee Bettcher

Woody Lee

Briana Klindworth's father, Keith Klindworth.

Danny Lee Bettcher

RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER � Holdingford, Minn. - 01/05/10 ] Sherrie DeZurik kissed a childhood photograph of her son Ryan who was killed this summer by a drunk driver. Ryan, 19, was driving home from work when a man driving a Hummer H2 with a blood alcohol level of .346 crashed into his car killing him instantly.

  • Drunk driving's toll: One family's story

    Article By: RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER , Publish / Update January 20, 2010 12:47 PM

    19-year-old Ryan DeZurik died in August 2009 when a drunk driver hit him on his way home from work. His family talks about his life and death.

Ann Marie Martinson

Adam Gadach

  • Army of tragedy confronts DWIs

    Article By: CURT BROWN , Star Tribune Publish March 2, 2010 2:00 AM / Update March 2, 2010 6:09 AM

    Some are victims, others are offenders or relatives. Every day, countless volunteers speak up, with tears and bitter grief, trying to "change the world."

    Full StoryFull story

Carla Cincotta and Scott Mueller

Carmen Huertas

  • State lawmaker caught driving wrong way on 35W

    Article By: ROSEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT , Publish / Update March 22, 2011 3:52 PM

    Former State Representative and Senator Phillip Riveness is caught on tape driving the wrong way on I-35W in December, 2009. Roseville police ended the chase by causing Riveness' car to spin out. Riveness pleaded guilty to driving under the influence.

RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER � Fergus Falls, Minn. - 01-14-10 ] Danny Lee Bettcher spoke about his 27 DWI's from the Otter Tail County Jail moments after being sentenced to 48 months in prison for his last offense.

  • 27 DWI offender speaks from jail

    Article By: RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER , Publish / Update January 24, 2010 8:15 AM

    Danny Lee Bettcher speaks about his 27 DWI's from jail moments after being sentenced to 48 months in prison for the last offense.

Jason Sandstrom went through one of the programs.

Kirsten Driscoll

  • Driver's apology not enough for family

    Article By: ROCHELLE OLSON and CURT BROWN , Star Tribune staff writers Publish January 27, 2010 2:00 AM / Update January 27, 2010 9:21 AM

    Kirsten Driscoll, a Minneapolis mother of three, will serve eight months in jail for killing Christopher Iverson as she drove home while drunk. "Something is wrong with the system," the victim's sister said.

    Full StoryFull story

Richard Papenfuss spoke about his 20 DWIs at the sober house he lives at in Fergus Falls.

  • 20 DWI's; Multiple offender speaks

    Article By: RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER , Publish / Update January 24, 2010 8:14 AM

    Richard Papenfuss talks about how he got 20 DWI's in the last 30 years.

Attorney Don Nichols

Connie Ann Stroud

  • Reporter's Notebook: DWI series

    Article By: MATT GILLMER , Publish / Update March 22, 2011 3:50 PM

    Aimee Blanchette and Richard Meryhew talk about how Minnesota compares to other states in DWI penalties.

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