LAKE MINNETONKA, Minn. (FOX 9) - The boating season may be coming to an end in Minnesota, but the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is making a point to recognize a water patrol deputy who was instrumental in making sure boaters followed the rules this summer.
Out on Lake Minnetonka, Deputy Tedros Semere is at ease educating people about water safety, including the importance of boating sober.
"I don't think people really understand that it carries the same weight as if you were driving and drinking on the road," said Semere, a deputy with the Hennepin County Water Patrol.
It's not unheard of for law enforcement officers to make three DWI arrests in one day on the roads, which they affectionately call a "hat trick." But on June 16, Semere became the first in state history to make three stops in one day on water. Around 7 p.m., he was in a no-wake zone with a speed limit of 5 miles an hour, but he saw a boat going faster than that.
"It was four occupants on the boat and so the driver switched and then another person started driving," Semere explained.
Both drivers turned out to be intoxicated, so he arrested them. Then, about four hours later, he pulled over another intoxicated boater.
"More than 70 percent of fatalities that happen on the lake are alcohol-related. So, this is something that we take seriously. We're always out there," he said.
Typically, hat tricks on roads are awarded with hockey sticks, but for Semere's accomplishment on water, he was gifted a paddle.
He's been a Hennepin County deputy since 2017, but as he rounds out his second summer with the Water Patrol, he said it's great to be recognized, but he gets more satisfaction from knowing he's keeping families safe.
"The lake's fun. We want everybody to come out here and have fun whether you live on a lake area or you don't," he said.