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More than 1,500 drivers arrested in recent DWI sweep

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ST. PAUL — Swift County was the spot where one of the highest blood alcohol levels in the state was registered in a driver during the recent Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over DWI enforcement campaign.

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Law enforcement in the state arrested 1,556 impaired drivers as part of the statewide effort from Aug. 16 through Labor Day.

According to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the highest alcohol concentrations were 0.4 in a driver arrested by the Woodbury Police Department; 0.37 in an arrest by the Worthington Police Department; .036 in arrests by the Minnetonka Police Department and the Marshall County Sheriff's Department; and 0.357 in an arrest made by the Swift County sheriff.

The legal blood alcohol limit in Minnesota in 0.08.

According to the news release, about 30,000 motorists are arrested for DWI in Minnesota each year. Drunken driving crashes have resulted in 585 deaths during the past five years — 104 in 2012.

Fatal drunken driving crashes are 100 percent preventable, according to Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol. "By simply planning ahead for a sober ride, we can help keep our roads safe and avoid these unnecessary, life-altering events," he said in the release.

The State Patrol reported 263 arrests during the extra enforcement, the highest number in the state.

The St. Paul Police Department had 60 arrests and the Minneapolis Police Department had 42 arrests. In rural Minnesota, where 77 percent of drunken driving deaths occur, the St. Cloud Police Department recorded 23 arrests.

To view all arrests by agency and their highest alcohol-concentration DWI arrest, visit https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/Documents/DWI-arrests-LaborDay-2013.pdf.

Minnesota Drunken Driving Facts:

n 104 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2012 — 100 fewer than a decade ago.

n 2,644 people suffered injuries in alcohol-related crashes in 2012.

n 28,418 people were arrested for DWI in 2012, the average alcohol-concentration was 0.15.

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Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340
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