MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Authorities say more than 2,000 people were arrested for drunken driving during the 2021 holiday season.
From Nov. 24-Dec. 31, 2,037 drivers were arrested for DWI, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. That’s about 650 more than the pre-vaccine 2020 holidays, but still fewer than each year from 2015-2019.
DPS said preliminary investigation reveals five alcohol-related fatalities and four injuries during the 2021 holidays. One in every five deaths on Minnesota roads is related to drunk driving.
In a release, DPS highlighted some of the more notable DWI arrests. In one instance, St. Paul police arrested a woman who sped away from a pizza place when her order wasn’t ready. She had a BAC of .156, DPS said.
In St. Francis, police arrested a man who drove through a house and caused $50,000 in damage.
One arrest not mentioned in DPS’ release was that of Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson, who admitted to driving drunk before rolling his vehicle near Alexandria Dec. 8. Hutchinson pleaded guilty to fourth-degree DWI and was sentenced to two years of probation.
At least five Hennepin County commissioners, as well as other politicians, have called on Hutchinson to resign. He has declined, saying he will “let the citizens, not politicians, decide my future in November.”
“Choosing to drive while impaired is a selfish choice that not only risks the driver’s life, but also the lives of innocent motorists,” DPS said in its release. “Minnesotans can prevent tragedy for themselves and others by planning a sober ride, buckling up, obeying the speed limit and paying attention.”