Final report: Mower had 275 DWIs in 2012

Published 7:30 am Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mower County accounted for 275 of Minnesota’s 28,418 DWI arrests in 2012, according to the Department of Public Safety’s final 2012 drunken driving report released on Monday. The 275 Mower County arrests is exactly the same as 2011’s total, the report adds.

Statewide, there were 104 drunken driving deaths. Of the six traffic deaths reported in 2012 in Mower County, five involved alcohol in some way. While the DWI numbers are lower than some recent years, the traffic deaths are higher. Austin Police Capt. Dave McKichan hopes to limit that number more than any other.

“At the end of the day, we don’t want anyone to drink and drive, but more importantly, we don’t want anyone to lose their life out there,” he said.

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Mower County Sheriff’s deputies and Austin Police officers have ramped up DWI enforcement in the past days as part of another Toward Zero Death traffic wave. The increased patrols will persist through Labor Day. Thus far, McKichan said local deputies and officers have issued several DWIs as a result of the increased patrols. However, the total Mower County DWIs through Aug. 26, 2013, about 170, is 10 fewer than last year’s total through that date.

McKichan said he thinks the enforcement waves are making a difference, but how much has yet to be determined.

“There is still work to be done,” he said.

During the current enforcement wave, which began mid-August, 355 people were arrested for DWI throughout Minnesota, according to preliminary reports. There were more than 400 arrests during the first weekend.

In 2010, Mower County recorded 262 DWI arrests, which was down from 303 in 2009 and 414 in 2008, the report added.