Troopers, deputies make DWI arrests during Dakota Days The South Dakota Highway Patrol conducted three sobriety checkpoints in three separate locations over a two day period in and around the Vermillion area during last week's Dakota Days festivities.
According to Highway Patrol Lieutenant Kevin Joffer, troopers and Clay County deputies kept busy dealing with drinking drivers at the various checkpoint locations.
Troopers arrested a total of 17 DWIs over two days. The troopers spent a total of four hours at the three checkpoints over the two day period.
A total of 275 vehicles came through the three checkpoints and 88 portable breath tests were administered by troopers. Two people were charged with underage consumption and two people were cited for open container in a motor vehicle.
Joffer said these numbers reflect a troubling trend in which people continue to drink and drive.
He added that the Highway Patrol has held sobriety checkpoints every year for the past several years during the Dakota Day festivities.
The history of these sobriety checkpoints has produced similar drinking driver numbers over those years, well before .08 percent became the new legal blood alcohol limit.
Joffer said that it never ceases to amaze him when he sees a drunk driver come through the checkpoints with a sober passenger.
The positive news from the weekend, he added, was that there were no fatal or injury accidents investigated by the Highway Patrol in the Vermillion area.
"It is always the goal and mission of our troopers to remove the drunk drivers from our highways and to make the highways safe for the motoring public," Joffer said. "It makes it even more of a challenge during these high profile festivities such as Dakota Days."