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More than 1,500 arrested, 5 killed during 3-week drunk driving crackdown

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More than 1,500 people were arrested and five people were killed during the state's three-week drunk driving crackdown, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced Tuesday.

Those are just some of the incidents reported during the state's enhanced DWI enforcement campaign, which the DPS says highlight a disturbing trend.

"The stories you hear from officers, troopers and deputies about drunk drivers are certainly scary for anyone who shares the road with those who make poor decisions," Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director, said in a news release. "We know the efforts by law enforcement during our campaigns certainly make a difference in saving lives."

Law enforcement officials around the state made 1,513 DWI arrests from Aug. 21 through Sept. 7, with more than 400 arrests coming over Labor Day weekend, the DPS says.

That's up from 1,340 arrests during the same period last year.

Among those who were arrested: A mother driving drunk with her 10-year-old child in the car stopped by West Hennepin Public Safety; a drunk driver going 126 mph in a 70-mph zone in Mower County; and a driver in St. Paul who had a blood-alcohol content of .396 – nearly five times the legal limit of .08.

Also during the campaign, five people, including three teenagers, were killed in four crashes where alcohol was involved, the DPS notes.

Traffic fatalities are higher this year than they were at this time last year, with alcohol being one of the major contributors in fatal crashes. The state's Toward Zero Deaths campaign says 267 people have been killed on the state's roads this year, compared to 237 at this time last year.

A breakdown of where the DWI arrests were made:

  • The Minnesota State Patrol reported 253 DWI arrests.
  • St. Paul police: 47 arrests.
  • Minneapolis: 42 arrests.
  • Bloomington: 26 arrests.
  • Rochester: 25 arrests.
  • White Bear Lake: 23 arrests.
  • St. Cloud: 22 arrests.
  • Mankato: 20 arrests.
  • Duluth: 14 arrests.

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