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NEWS RELEASE

Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
CONTACT:
Scott Wasserman  651-201-7571
scott.wasserman@state.mn.us
Dave Boxum  651-201-7569
dave.boxum@state.mn.us
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2020
Drive Sober, Drive Smart: Extra DWI Enforcement and Awareness Campaign Aug. 14-Sept. 7
Minnesota’s DWI All-Star Team Recognized for Protecting Lives on the Road

ST. PAUL – An impaired driver rolled his vehicle on icy roads and suffered minor injuries while his girlfriend did not survive the crash. A driver under the influence of a controlled substance, arrested while driving with his family, later thanked the deputy because the incident helped him with his life and family.

These are stories from two DWI All-Stars - Dakota County Deputy Jon Grimes and Blue Earth County Deputy Chris Arkell - on why they are so passionate about getting impaired drivers off the road. The Minnesota DWI All-Star team will join law enforcement and traffic safety partners across Minnesota during the Extra DWI Enforcement and Awareness Campaign Aug. 14-Sept. 7. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) coordinates the campaign and the funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

DPS-OTS is recognizing 48 officers, troopers, deputies, and prosecutors as the 13th DWI All-Star team. The All-Stars made 3,170 combined DWI arrests across Minnesota in 2019, protecting people from a driver’s choice to risk their own life and the lives of other people on the road by driving impaired.

“We’re so proud of the DWI All-Stars’ commitment to DWI enforcement and the priority that they place on saving lives and preventing serious injuries,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director. “The All-Stars’ work and the efforts of all of our law enforcement and traffic safety partners in Minnesota are helping change dangerous driving behaviors. We can’t enforce our way out of impaired driving. It’s up to each driver to make the choice to drive sober and drive smart.”

Fewer DWIs During Pandemic but Arrests Climbing

Minnesota’s stay-at-home COVID-19 response contributed to less traffic and fewer DWIs compared to a year ago. As of Aug. 10, there were 13,816 DWI arrests year-to-date compared with 16,881 arrests at this time last year. Unfortunately, after the drop in March and April, arrests are climbing.

Month

DWI Arrests 2020

DWI Arrests 2019

January

2,162

2,139

February

2,338

1,974

March

1,830

2,374

April

1,157

2,084

May

1,700

2,347

June

1,725

2,571

July

2,117

2,543

 

Summer Sees Increased Tragedy on the Road

Drunk driving-related deaths and alcohol-related serious injuries typically increase during the summer months.

Drunk Driving-Related Fatalities and Alcohol-Related Serious Injuries
2015-2019

Months

 Drunk Driving-Related Fatalities

(drunk driving-related is any driver at .08 or above)

Alcohol-Related Serious Injuries

(alcohol-related is any evidence of alcohol in a driver, pedestrian or bicyclist)

December – February

55

321

March – May

116

453

June - August

137

537

September - November

105

472


All-Stars and Law Enforcement Across Minnesota Keeping Roads Safe

The DWI All-Stars will be doing their part to stop impaired driving as officers with more than 300 law enforcement agencies work overtime shifts to prevent tragedy during the Aug. 14 – Sept. 7 campaign. The All-Stars’ high number of arrests during 2019 reduced the likelihood of multiple crashes, multiple lives lost and multiple serious injuries that shatter families’ lives forever.

Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Gustavo Culbeaux from the west metro district took the most impaired drivers off the road in the Twin Cities with 179 arrests. St. Cloud police officer Darin Vossen arrested the most impaired drivers in Greater Minnesota with 163 DWI arrests.

DWI All-Stars and Number of 2019 DWI Arrests

Greater Minnesota All-Stars

  • Nate Curtiss, Austin Police – 31
  • Taylor Halverson, Baxter Police – 54
  • Lance Herbst, Baxter Police – 32
  • Matt Gerving, Becker County Sheriff – 37
  • Anthony Petrie, Beltrami County Sheriff – 64
  • Jeff Amey, Bemidji Police – 81
  • Bidal Duran Jr., Bemidji Police – 39
  • Tyler Sinclair – Big Lake Police – 43
  • Adam Suckow, Blue Earth County Sheriff – 60
  • Chris Arkell, Blue Earth County Sheriff – 48
  • Chris Leonard, Buffalo Police – 73
  • Taylor Znajda, Crookston Police – 30
  • Corey Sammons, Douglas County Sheriff – 39
  • Jamie Meyer, Mower County Sheriff – 62
  • Allen Mekash, Otter Tail County Sheriff – 32
  • Jeff Rowden, Pipestone County Sheriff – 32
  • Eric Christenson, Rochester Police – 41
  • Darin Vossen, St. Cloud Police – 163
  • Chad Myers, Winona County Sheriff – 56
  • James Dunn, Nicollet County Attorney’s Office
  • Zachary Borchardt, Minnesota State Patrol District 2700 (Duluth) – 100
  • Eric Bormann, Drug Recognition Evaluator, Minnesota State Patrol District 2100 (Rochester) – 23

DWI Total: 1,140

Twin Cities All-Stars

  • Eric Derner, Anoka County Sheriff – 58
  • Cory Christianson, Apple Valley Police – 95
  • Dan Stefczak, Blaine Police – 68
  • Jon Grimes, Dakota County Sheriff – 53
  • Chad Streiff, Eden Prairie Police – 79
  • Ben Wenande, Edina Police – 131
  • Jesse Penman, Edina Police – 57
  • Jacob Johnson, Inver Grove Heights Police – 40
  • Charlie Nelson, Oakdale Police – 42
  • Randall Axtell, St. Paul Police – 154
  • Alex Graham, St. Paul Police – 109
  • Adam Crain, Drug Recognition Evaluator, Savage Police – 12
  • Vadim Romanets, Shakopee Police – 36
  • Cortnie Miranowski, Shakopee Police – 36
  • Mike Mallet, Stillwater Police – 37
  • Michael Ramos, Washington County Sheriff – 112
  • Antonio Brown, White Bear Lake Police – 119
  • AJ Veenendall, Woodbury Police – 59
  • Tommy Satele, Woodbury Police - 50
  • Amy J. Tripp-Steiner, Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office
  • Gustavo Culbeaux, Minnesota State Patrol District 2500 (Golden Valley) – 179
  • Keenan Jones, Minnesota State Patrol District 2500 (Golden Valley) – 95
  • Steven Lindbeck, Minnesota State Patrol District 2500 (Golden Valley) – 89
  • Zachary Hansen, Minnesota State Patrol District 2400 (Oakdale) – 126
  • Kyle Koeberl, Minnesota State Patrol District 2400 (Oakdale) – 92
  • Kendall LeMay, Minnesota State Patrol District 2400 (Oakdale)  – 102  

DWI Total: 2,030

Enjoy End-of-Summer Fun with a Sober Ride

The Labor Day holiday period falls only behind Halloween and the Fourth of July for the highest number of DWI arrests per hour compared with other holidays (2013-2017).

  • Halloween – 4.0
  • Fourth of July – 3.9
  • Labor Day - 3.8
  • St. Patrick's Day - 3.8
  • Valentine’s Day – 3.8
  • Memorial Day – 3.6
  • Thanksgiving – 3.6
  • New Year’s Eve – 3.3
  • Christmas – 2.5

Labor Day DWI Incidents (Friday – Tuesday)

Year

DWIs

2015

500

2016

421

2017

449

2018

401

2019

451

Total

2,222


DWI Consequences

  • Loss of license for up to a year, thousands of dollars in costs and possible jail time.
  • Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges or face at least one year without a driver’s license.
  • Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.

Speak Up and Plan a Sober Ride

  • Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a safe, alternative transportation option, or stay at the location of the celebration.
  • Speak up — Offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere. If you see an impaired person about to get behind the wheel, get them a safe ride home.
  • Buckle up — the best defense against a drunk driver.
  • Report drunk driving — Call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.

Definitions

  • Driving While Impaired (DWI) is a violation for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Alcohol-related: any evidence of alcohol detected in a driver, pedestrian or bicyclist.
  • Impaired-related: any driver, pedestrian or bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above.
  • Drunk driving-related: any driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above.


About the Minnesota Department Public Safety

DPS comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. DPS-OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.

445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov