It happened recently when Anoka County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Miller was watching traffic from the median on Round Lake Boulevard in Andover.
“While I was sitting on the center median, a vehicle came around the corner northbound and actually went past me at 112 miles per hour,” said Deputy Miller. “It took me awhile to catch up to him, but when I did catch up to him, I quickly learned he was heavily intoxicated.”
A field test showed the driver had more than double the legal limit of alcohol in his system. Deputies also found drugs and $18,000 in cash.
“It’s scary to think that someone who was more than double the legal limit was doing 112 miles per hour. We’re lucky nobody was seriously injured or killed that day.”
Law enforcement officials say speeds are out of control. Last year, the Minnesota State Patrol nearly doubled the number of citations troopers wrote for drivers traveling at 100 miles per hour or faster.
“It’s everywhere across the state and it’s all the time,” says Patrol Col. Matt Langer. “That’s why we’re doubling down.”
The Patrol announced a statewide speed enforcement crackdown combined with an education campaign aimed at slowing down dangerous drivers.
“When I talk to troopers about what they’re seeing on the roads, they’re seeing a great increase in the number of drivers traveling at ridiculous speeds. In fact, last year we had more than 1000 speeding tickets issued for vehicles traveling in excess of 100 miles an hour.” said Langer.
The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office is also ramping up a more aggressive approach against speeders with an emphasis on the most dangerous areas.
“Some targeted areas of enforcement are going to be key to this,” said Sheriff James Stuart. “Obviously we have Highway 65 which is known to be a deadly corridor. All of our deputies have been instructed to pay closer attention to those type of violations.”
Anoka sheriff’s deputies have stopped ten speeders above 100 miles an hour in the past year. Sheriff Stuart says why it’s happening is a good question.
“There’s lighter traffic on the roads with the COVID, a lot of people are working from home. So I think the lighter traffic empowers, emboldens some people to be able to drive faster. Perhaps it’s even the lack of normalcy in their lives. They’re running late, they think they have to speed in order to get where they’re going.”
Officials say combining high speed with inattentive driving leads to a predictable result.
“With less cars on the road, it seems like we are still responding to more accidents,” said Deputy Miller. “A lot of those are because of excessive speed.”
In addition to a fine or possible arrest, drivers can lose their license if they’re caught at 100 miles an hour. The State Patrol says since additional speed enforcement went into effect, they clocked one driver at 123 miles an hour in Sherburne County.