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9 arrested in recent DWI enforcement campaign

Albert Lea police and Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested nine people for driving while impaired during an extra enforcement campaign that ended earlier this month.

More than 300 law enforcement agencies participated in the statewide campaign from Aug. 18 through Sept. 3.

Of the nine arrested, two were arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

According to a news release, one of the people mistakenly entered the wrong house and was sitting on a Freeborn County resident’s couch.

Another driver fled from deputies and was arrested for a first-degree DUI and fleeing in a motor vehicle, while another driver reportedly had a .24 blood alcohol level.

The release stated the summer months of June through August are Minnesota’s deadliest months for drunken driving.

From 2011 through 2015, there were 150 drunken driving-related deaths in Minnesota. The next highest season is from September through November with 127 deaths.

“Summers are short in Minnesota, and we don’t want people shortening their fun or their lives by driving drunk,” said Albert Lea Police Department Lt. Jeff Strom. “During any season, we want Minnesotans to have a good time, but please be smart about it. People may be surprised to learn that a higher percentage of DWI arrests are first-time offenders, so it’s a big deal even if you think you’re OK to drive. If you’re planning to party, plan a sober ride.”

Drunken driving-related deaths have decreased over the years, from more than half of all traffic deaths being related to drinking and driving in the 1960s. In 2015, drunken driving-related deaths were 23 percent of all traffic fatalities in Minnesota.

The campaign was part of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths campaign.