The final tally is in, and law enforcement statewide arrested 424 impaired drivers over the three-day St. Patrick's Day weekend, an increase of 28 percent over last year, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Office of Traffic Safety said.
The 424 arrests made between 6 p.m. Friday and 4 a.m. Monday compares with 331 made during the same time frame in 2017, when the holiday fell on a Friday.
St. Patrick's Day has long been one of the busiest for drunken driving arrests. With an average 4.2 drunken driving arrests every hour, the holiday ranks third, trailing only Labor Day and Independence Day, the Office of Traffic Safety said.
In comparison, police make about 285 DWI arrests on a typical weekend, the traffic safety office said.
It was unclear why arrests spiked this year, though the fact that St. Patrick's Day was on a Saturday may have played a role, said Lt. Robert Zak of the Minnesota State Patrol.
"It's frustrating because it is totally preventable," he said. "Everybody knows not to drink and drive, but people still do it. The bottom line is people need to make the right decision."
Last week the Department of Traffic Safety warned there would be extra DWI enforcement over the weekend: "No blarney from us. You drink and drive, you will get caught."
In past years, Metro Transit has provided as many as 60,000 free rides on St. Patrick's Day, teaming with Miller Lite to keep revelers off the roads. Numbers for this year were not immediately available, said Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla.