Sheriff: Teen driver in New Year's DWI crash only had permit

- The Dakota County Sheriff is reminding parents to be aware and vigilant when it comes to their teenage children.

This comes after Sheriff Tim Leslie’s deputies responded to a late night crash Friday involving four teens.  The driver, a 16-year-old girl, lost control of her vehicle on Foliage Street in Greenvale Township, Minnesota. 

She told investigators she swerved to avoid a deer, but deputies said it was apparent she had also been drinking.

Her breath test revealed a blood alcohol content of .14, almost twice the legal limit. 

However, the sheriff said there were more issues than just the alcohol. 

“No driver’s license, she's got a permit only,” Leslie said. “So she shouldn't even have anybody in the car with her except for a parent or a guardian, and yet she's out driving under the influence of alcohol.”

The sheriff said the four were wearing seatbelts, which likely prevented any serious injuries.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, one-third of all traffic fatalities among 16 to 19 year olds are caused by drinking and driving. It’s not clear where the kids got the alcohol or whether the vehicle the teen was driving was hers to take. That’s all under investigation.

Leslie hopes this incident serves as a reminder to parents to keep an eye on their kids,

“I think we've improved, but we still have room to grow and get better,” he said. “I think one death is too many when they're young and have their whole life ahead of them.”

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