A statewide crackdown on drunken driving netted hundreds of motorists in just one weekend, but not before at least one person was killed in a crash with a driver who was believed to be intoxicated.
Even with the Minnesota State Patrol taking 425 suspected drunk drivers off the road this past weekend, troopers know they won't be able to stop each and every one. Such was the case in Pine County when a 50-year-old Maplewood man lost his life in a crash with a suspected drunk driver.
"A very tragic situation -- that's the situation we're trying to prevent, having this extra enforcement, putting the word out, advertising that we are out there," Lt. Eric Roeske told FOX 9 News.
According to the State Patrol, 48-year-old Danny Kitterman blew through a stop sign at before he struck the car driven by William Joseph 2:45 p.m.
"Drunk drivers are a danger when they are on the road, and this crash in Pine County shows that they are out there at all hours and we have to remain vigilant no matter what time of day," Roeske said.
A resident in the area told FOX 9 News he came home to find the cars in his yard, describing a horrific scene where Joseph was pronounced dead. Joseph's 9-year-old daughter survived the crash.
Kitterman, who police believe was under the influence of alcohol, was arrested on criminal vehicular homicide. He remains in the Pine County Jail.
Joseph's family told FOX 9 News they are heartbroken over the loss of a husband and father of two.
Troopers say the weekend's arrest number is certainly high. On average, about 300 drunken drivers are taken off the road on a summer weekend.
"It is frustrating because every time we arrest one, we're glad we prevented a possible tragedy -- but it still shows people don't' listen," Roeske said. "We're not shy about this. All week long, we said we were going to be out in force but we still had a significant number that chose to get drunk and get behind the wheel."