MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Freeborn county woman with a .45 blood alcohol concentration was found passed out in her car with the engine running over the holidays.

Apprehending the woman required little exertion: She had parked in a Minnesota state trooper’s home driveway.

Rhonda Oquist’s .45 BAC was the highest of all 2,537 motorists arrested across the state between Nov. 26 and the end 0f 2014, according to a release from the Department of Public Safety.

“Some might call it unlucky to pass out drunk in the driveway of a trooper, but this woman is very fortunate that she didn’t injure or kill herself or another motorist,” said Lt. Tiffani Nielson of the Minnesota State Patrol.

A Rise In DWI Arrests

Arrests of intoxicated drivers dropped in 2014 for the eighth year in a row.

Preliminary numbers show 24,159 DWI arrests in 2014, marking a continued, steady decline from the 41,951 arrests in 2006.

The lowered arrest figures reflect a real drop in drunk driving, the state patrol said.

The 81 deaths from drunk driving in 2013 are a 59 percent drop from the 196 deaths in 2003.

“Even though we are encouraged by the declining DWI numbers, one drunk driver is one too many,” said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director.

History of DWI Arrests In Minnesota

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
24,159 25,719 28,418 29,257 29,918 32,756 35,794 38,669 41,951

Tips to Prevent Drunk Driving

The Department of Public Safety offers these tips to prevent drunk driving:

  • Plan for a safe ride – designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation or stay at the location of the celebration.
  • Offer to be a designated driver, or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.
  • Buckle up – the best defense against a drunk driver.
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