A night behind bars on St. Patrick's Day

Published: Mar. 18, 2018 at 6:27 PM CDT
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Many people were out enjoying St. Patrick’s Day responsibly Saturday, but a few drivers pressed their luck and spent their night behind bars. The South Dakota Highway Patrol and the Sioux Falls Police Department teamed up for a saturation patrol. KSFY Reporter Michaela Feldmann got a front seat view and rode along for a little more than four hours, but it took less than five minutes for a vehicle to get pulled over.

“There’s a variety of reasons why we can pull somebody over. If we have any suspicion of that the person may be under the influence of alcohol or even drugs then we investigate further,” South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper, Kristoff Dekramer said.

That investigation includes a field sobriety test where officers will do a horizontal gaze and nystagmus eye movement test, the walk and turn, and the one leg stand.

“If you see the clues you're looking for then you go on and you do some normal exercises too like reciting the alphabet, ‘A’ through ‘Z’, then counting up some numbers, and counting backwards some numbers,” Dekramer said.

Many drivers ended up failing those tests Saturday night. Officers said a majority of the drivers on the road are being safe, but it’s the ones that aren’t that make it dangerous for everyone.

"Based on your field sobriety test I am putting you under arrest for DUI. They don’t want to be arrested which is understandable, but these people decided and make the choice on their own to get behind the wheel and drive,” Dekramer said.

Many of those drivers that were pulled over were above the legal limit.

“Our main job is to take impaired drivers off the road in an attempt to try to prevent crashes. Hopefully by us taking people off the road, we are preventing crashes and saving lives,” Dekramer said.

Once people are arrested, they are taken to the Minnehaha County Jail and booked. The whole process from when they are initially pulled over, to when the blood sample is dropped off, takes about an hour and a half to two hours.