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Wright County Among Tops in DWI Violations over the Holidays

Wright County made 38 DWI arrests, with more pending trial outcomes, from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve.

Too many people continue to hop behind the wheel with a little too much holiday "cheer" in their system, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, which released results on the 2013 campaign to curb drunk driving during the holidays.

Minnesota law enforcement agencies arrested 2,453 impaired drivers as part of an enhanced DWI enforcement campaign during Nov. 27-Dec. 31, 2013, according to preliminary DWI arrest information from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.

Based on preliminary data, there were 24,551 arrested for DWI in Minnesota in 2013. It is anticipated this number will approach 26,000 as data continues coming in and court cases are settled.

“The number of arrests made last month shows that too many of our drivers still make poor choices about drinking and driving,” said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. “Our goal with these enhanced enforcement campaigns is to keep our roads safer and encourage drivers to make smarter decisions.”

The arrest numbers reflect statewide DWIs from 347 reporting agencies, including the Minnesota State Patrol, county sheriff’s offices and municipal law enforcement agencies.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported 546 arrests during the extra enforcement.

But Wright County led agencies outside of the Twin Cities proper (Minneapolis and St. Paul) with an eye-opening 38 arrests, or more than one per day. It put the county on pace with more densely populated areas, such as Maple Grove and Eden Prairie. 

In the Twin Cities metro area, agencies with the most DWI arrests during the campaign included:

·         86 – Minneapolis PD

·         80 – St. Paul PD

·         44 – Bloomington PD

·         36 – Maple Grove PD

·         31 – Eden Prairie PD

In Greater Minnesota, agencies with the most arrests included:

·         38 – Wright County Sheriff’s Department

·         32 – Duluth PD

·         27 – Carver County Sheriff’s Office

·         24 – Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Department

·         23 – Red Lake Law Enforcement

The West-metro district of the State Patrol reported the highest alcohol-concentration in the state during the campaign – 0.34 – more than four times the legal limit of 0.08. This was followed by 0.33 from Lakes Area Police Department and 0.32 from Crookston, South Lake Minnetonka and St. Paul police departments. Twelve agencies reported their highest alcohol-concentration in an arrest was at or above 0.30.

Enhanced DWI Enforcement in 25 Counties

Extra DWI patrols will continue in 25 Minnesota counties periodically through September 2014, as part of a 12-month, federally funded enforcement program.

These 25 counties accounted for 202 (60 percent) of the state’s drunk driving deaths and 620 (71 percent) of the state’s alcohol-related serious injuries during 2010-2012). Hennepin, of course, ranked first. Wright County dropped to 10th, after appearing higher in the rankings over the 2008-2010 period, according to records.

1. Hennepin

2. Anoka

3. Ramsey

4. St. Louis

5. Dakota

6. Washington

7. Olmsted

8. Otter Tail

9. Stearns

10. Wright

11. Itasca

12. Cass

13. Beltrami

14. Sherburne

15. Meeker

16. Crow Wing

17. Pine

18. Mille Lacs

19. Rice

20. Scott

21. Becker

22. Aitkin

23. Carver

24. Morrison

25. Blue Earth

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