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Area DUI patrols net 25 impaired drivers

WILLMAR -- More than two dozen area drivers face charges of driving under the influence during December in Kandiyohi and Swift counties.

Law enforcement agencies in the counties tracked DUI violations throughout December as part of the Safe & Sober program, the law enforcement component of Minnesota's Toward Zero Deaths initiative.

During December, Willmar Police arrested 13 individuals for various impaired driving violations; the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office arrested 10 people; and Swift County Sheriff's Office has charges pending against two people awaiting the results of blood and urine tests.

A dozen of the cases were compounded by crashes, fleeing a peace officer, having children in the vehicle, high tests with over 0.20 alcohol concentration, repeat violations, or other aggravating factors which raise the offense from misdemeanor to gross misdemeanor or felony levels.

Blood-alcohol levels for arrests by Willmar officers averaged 0.16; for arrests by sheriff's deputies the tests averaged 0.14; the range was 0.08 to 0.23 alcohol concentrations, with four refusals to test. Persons being charged range in age from 17 to 74 years old. While most people think of DUI as an offense which happens only late at night, incidents were also recorded at mid-morning, afternoon, suppertime and mid-evening, and at dawn on Christmas morning.

The best two defenses that other drivers have against crashes with impaired drivers are to always remain fully alert while driving -- day and night -- to prevent crashes, and to always be sure everyone in their vehicle is properly buckled up to survive if a crash happens . Kandiyohi and Swift County's law enforcement agencies wrote nearly four dozen citations in December to people who weren't seat belted or who did not have their children in proper child restraints. . Another defense that people have is to report possible impaired drivers to 9-1-1; several complaints of that type did lead to arrests during December.


SPICER -- Theft of items from a fish house on Green Lake was reported around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday at the boat access to the lake.

Property damage

WILLMAR -- Slashed tires on a vehicle were reported around 3:45 p.m. Wednesday along the 1100 block of Quincy Avenue Southeast.

WILLMAR -- Damage to a motel room was reported around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Lakeview Inn, 1212 Business 71 N.E.

District Court

Kandiyohi County

- Johnny Rodriguez, 56, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor for domestic assault.

As part of a plea agreement, a felony charge of terroristic threats will be dismissed. He will be sentenced Feb. 16.

The charges were filed after Willmar police were called around noon Dec. 6 to a home along the 1500 block of 15th Street Southeast. They found a woman there who reported she had been assaulted by Rodriguez and showed signs of being hit in the face. She said he came home drunk, accused her of eating all the leftover chicken noodle soup and talking to his relatives. She said he hit her in the face and punched her in the abdomen. Rodriguez was arrested and admitted he was drunk.