Patrols capture drunken drivers

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COEUR d'ALENE - Extra patrols over the New Year's Eve weekend rounded up plenty of drivers who had apparently celebrated too heavily.

"Fortunately, in Kootenai County, we did not have any fatal crashes," said Maj. Ben Wolfinger of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department,

But deputies did book 16 allegedly drunken drivers from noon on New Year's Eve to noon on New Year's Day.

That number is on par with previous years, 17 last year, and 15 the year before that.

"It is an unfortunate statement," Wolfinger said, "that we expect so many people being arrested for a crime that is totally preventable."

Coeur d'Alene Police made five DUI arrests, and Idaho State Police arrested seven in the five northern counties. Using grants from federal dollars, law enforcement agencies were able to put out DUI emphasis patrols for the celebratory weekend.

Post Falls Police made two DUI arrests between noon on New Year's Eve and noon on New Year's Day. Another DUI arrest was made later on New Year's Day.

"We had a pretty quiet New Year's," Capt. Pat Knight said.

The department had no arrests a year ago over that time.

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