Posted at: 08/16/2013 6:58 PM
By: Jenna Lohse
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- 71 people have died in Southeast Minnesota alone due to drunk driving in the last five years. Local law enforcement is working to curb this trend.
Plan ahead for a sober ride, that's the message from law enforcement as they crack down on drunk drivers through Labor Day.
Each year in Minnesota, nearly 30,000 motorists are arrested for DWIs. Local law enforcers say being arrested for drunk driving is a lot better outcome than causing a preventable tragedy.
"This is a senseless crime. It's our son is dead, the driver is in prison and none of this had to happen," said Hilary and Sandy Melville, who lost their son to a drunk driver in 2010.
"How do you feel about not having a mom, you miss her don't you? Yes," said Rita Seha and grandson Landon, who lost five loved ones to a drunk driver in 2009.
Both of these families mourning the loss of their loved ones because the driver in the car that hit them was under the influence.
"Always think before you get behind the wheel," said Seha.
The pictures serving as a warning to drivers that drunk driving can carry serious consequences. It's deadly accidents that has Minnesota law enforcement stepping up their patrols now through Labor Day.
"The purpose behind DWI patrols is obvious, each year drunk driving occurs for one third of the state’s traffic deaths," said Deputy Mark Dyshaw, Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.
Drunk driving resulting in 71 deaths in Southeast Minnesota over the past five years.
"A drunk driver behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is like a 3,000 pound missile aimed toward unsuspecting members of the motoring public and set to detonate on impact," said Lt. Scott Davis, Rochester Police Department.
"If you're drinking and driving, it's much better news if you're stopped and arrested for DWI then causing a preventable tragedy," said Dyshaw.
One death is too many, when drinking and driving is a decision that can be prevented.
"It's something that's part of our mission in life now is we don't want to see other people going through this needless pain," said Melville.
The extra patrols over the next few weeks will also crack down on seatbelt use on Southeast Minnesota roads.