By Dan Nienaber
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — About 300 people were arrested for driving while intoxicated in Minnesota during New Year’s Eve and New Year's Day with only two of those arrests coming from Blue Earth County.
There were no drunken-driving arrests by troopers working the State Patrol’s Mankato-based District 2200, which is the 10-county area surrounding Mankato, said Sgt. Jacalyn Sticha.
There also were no arrests during that two-day period in Mankato, said Cmdr. Pam Hermanson of the Mankato Department of Public Safety.
Two people were arrested and jailed in Blue Earth County for driving drunk. A 30-year-old Janesville man was arrested on New Year’s Eve and a 44-year-old Mankato man was arrested New Year’s Day, according to court records. There were no court records of arrests in other area counties as of Thursday morning.
The 300 arrests statewide were consistent with the average of 295 annual DWI arrests during the holiday for the past five years, a Minnesota Department of Public Safety news release said.
“New Year’s remains a major celebration and many people still put lives at risk on the holiday by making the dangerous decision to drink and drive,” said Jean Ryan, impaired driving coordinator for the department’s Office of Traffic Safety. “Those who did not plan ahead for a sober ride and were arrested face serious consequences.”
Those consequences include the possibility of losing a driver’s license for a year, thousands of dollars in fines and other costs and the possibility of jail time.
There were 651 people killed in drunken-driving crashes statewide during the past five years, including 111 deaths in 2011 alone. About 30,000 people are arrested annually for driving while intoxicated in Minnesota.
Troopers made 157 drunken-driving arrests in the State Patrol’s Mankato district in 2012, Sticha said.