Officials arrest thousands for impaired driving during holiday DWI campaign

During the 2023 holiday season thousands of impaired drivers were arrested across Minnesota, the Department of Public Safety says.

According to a Friday morning press release, this year’s DWI extra enforcement campaign saw 2,432 people arrested by 279 law enforcement agencies across the state for impaired driving between Nov. 22 and New Year’s.

Officials say 2,228 people were arrested for impaired during last year’s campaign.

The release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety included the following incidences when impaired driving arrests were made:

  • A good Samaritan flagged down a Lakeville police officer who found a woman passed out behind the wheel at a busy intersection. The 51-year-old still had her foot on the brake. When the officer tried to wake her, her vehicle rolled into the squad. The driver had an initial blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.40.
  • Chaska police arrested an intoxicated driver who crossed over the median and hit a vehicle head-on. Several people in the other vehicle were hurt.
  • Redwood County deputies responded to a fatal crash that was alcohol-related. The unbuckled driver rolled the truck. Alcohol was found in the vehicle.
  • A Chisago County Sheriff’s deputy pulled over a driver who had their 2-year-old son in the vehicle. The driver had a 0.18 BAC and was arrested for second-degree DWI.
  • A Minnesota State Patrol trooper pulled over a vehicle for weaving across lane lines. The driver had a 0.225 BAC. The driver’s 10-year-old son was in the backseat.
  • A Minnesota State Patrol trooper responded to a vehicle that sideswiped an ambulance in north Minneapolis and kept going. The driver had a 0.16 BAC.
  • Inver Grove Heights police arrested a driver at 12:30 p.m. with a 0.30 BAC. He told officers he was on his way to the store.
  • The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office arrested a driver for their seventh DWI. Another driver told Olmsted County deputies she was on her way to pick up her kids. She had a 0.27 BAC.
  • Spring Lake Park police arrested a driver who was going to a restaurant on Christmas to eat pizza. He had a 0.35 BAC.

“If you’re out relaxing with friends over dinner and drinks, that’s fine, just make sure you have a sober ride home,” said Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) Director Mike Hanson. “If a person thinks they’re okay to drive after drinking, that can be a warning sign right there. Don’t risk it like we saw with too many drivers during this campaign.”

In the Twin Cities metro area, the highest BACs reported included:

  • Lakeville Police Department: 0.46
  • Savage Police Department: 0.441
  • Brooklyn Park Police Department: 0.37
  • White Bear Lake Police Department: 0.37
  • Lino Lakes Public Safety Department: 0.35
  • Spring Lake Park Police Department: 0.35

DWI arrests by agency

In the Twin Cities Metro Area, agencies with the most DWI arrests during the campaign included:

  • Minnesota State Patrol west metro district: 204
  • Minnesota State Patrol east metro district: 104
  • St. Paul Police Department: 58
  • Washington County Sheriff’s Office: 39
  • Anoka Police Department: 31
  • Blaine Police Department: 31
  • South Lake Minnetonka Police Department: 31

In Greater Minnesota, agencies with the most DWI arrests during the campaign included:

  • Minnesota State Patrol Rochester district: 65
  • Rochester Police Department: 54
  • Minnesota State Patrol Virginia district: 52
  • Minnesota State Patrol Duluth district: 49
  • Minnesota State Patrol St. Cloud district: 45
  • Wright County Sheriff’s Office: 42
  • Bemidji Police Department: 35

CLICK HERE for a list of participating agencies and BAC levels for more information.