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73 underage drinkers busted in Winona

From staff and news service reports

WINONA -- Police officers and sheriff's deputies wrote 73 tickets for underage drinking during a weekend sweep.

Ticketed late Saturday and early Sunday were several teens from Rochester, Lake City, Kasson, Preston, Hokah. A 21-year-old Byron man was cited for drinking in public.

The crackdown netted a smaller number than similar efforts in 2002 and 2003 when more than 100 people were cited.

"It was sort of a quiet night," Winona Police Sgt. Chris Nelson said.

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Four trios of law enforcers went on foot patrols Friday night for the first evening of NightCAP Jr., a federally funded program that targets underage drinking. The sweep also resulted in eight tickets for drinking in public and two for urinating in public.

The tickets were written to pedestrians, to people in vehicles, at college dorm rooms at Saint Mary's University and Winona State, and at house parties downtown.

Most of those arrested weren't heavily intoxicated, and there was only one serious incident.

In that case, an officer was dragged about 10 feet by a pickup driven by a 20-year-old Winona man who the officer was trying to ticket. The officer had approached the truck and had seen an open beer can inside, prompting the driver to hit the gas.

The officer was not injured, and police later found the truck and arrested the man. He was cited with fleeing police in a vehicle, obstructing with force, underage drinking, underage drunken driving, underage possession of alcohol, running a red light and reckless driving.

Four of his passengers were cited for underage drinking.

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