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DWI arrests made in December

WILLMAR -- The December holidays in west central Minnesota wrapped up with 20 arrests for driving while impaired in Kandiyohi County and five in Swift County during the month-long Safe and Sober campaign.

Most of the arrests were made in the days before or after Christmas. The very cold weather the second week of December may have kept some impaired people off the roads, according to a joint press release from the Kandiyohi County and Swift County sheriff's departments and the Willmar and Benson police departments, which participated in the campaign.

Of the 20 arrests made in Kandiyohi County in December, 13 were made during the final two weeks. Of the five arrests made in Swift County, four were made in the last two weeks of the month.

Impaired drivers tested with an average alcohol concentration of .14, which is well over the .08 limit for intoxication.

The preliminary total of DWI arrests in Kandiyohi County during 2008 is about 270. There were 25-30 made by the Benson police and Swift County Sheriff's Office.

In 2008, Kandiyohi County deputies arrested an average of one person a day for DWI in January.

Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog said he hopes that trend doesn't continue in 2009.

"We will arrest each impaired driver we find, so to change things, people have absolutely got to stop getting behind the wheel when they've been drinking."

The Kandiyohi County and Swift County sheriff's departments and the Willmar and Benson police departments worked about 128 grant-paid overtime hours in December as part of the Minnesota Safe & Sober campaign.

More than 400 departments across the state joined in the December mobilization of the Safe & Sober campaign to keep impaired drivers off the roads and everyone properly buckled up, whether their agency received extra funding or not.

Safe & Sober is led in Minnesota by the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety and is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.