Two southeast Minnesota families that know the heartache of impaired driving crashes recently spoke out to remind the public of the dangers of driving impaired. The event took place Wednesday, November 22 at Dodge Center Fire Hall, Dodge Center, Minn.
Kaitlyn Hansen, a 16-year-old high school student, was hit and killed by an impaired driver on January 28, 2016. Going a step behond just keeping Kaitlyn’s memory alive, the Hansen family has donated her car as a reminder that drunk driving changes lives forever. Thirteen counties in southeastern Minnesota will use the car as an educational tool, taking it to community events, festivals, and high schools. Kaitlyn’s parents, Kevin and Georgeanne Hansen, along with Adam Frederickson, received a traffic safety award recognizing their commitment to saving lives on Minnesota roads. To hear from Kaitlyn’s parents on the person she was, the night she was killed and the lives she’s saved, please view the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_7ApHFjMVM, which was created by Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and TZD.
On February 7, 2004, 18-year-old Adam Fredericksen’s life was changed forever when an impaired driver hit his vehicle, resulting in Adam suffering serious injuries. Following the crash, Adam’s vehicle was donated to Dodge County to be used for educational purposes throughout the region. Adam’s vehicle has been used countless times to show the impact drunk driving takes on communities.
Please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2ubRi88zUQ to hear from Sheriff Kevin Torgerson at the November 22 MN Toward Zero Deaths Holiday Impaired Enforcement campaign kickoff in Dodge Center.
The families joined southeast Minnesota law enforcement officers, traffic safety stakeholders and the Minnesota Departments of Transportation and Public Safety to kick off the enhanced DWI enforcement and education campaign. Law enforcement will be working overtime shifts to stop drunk drivers through December 30. The extra enforcement effort is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS).
Others involved in the recent event were Jessica Schleck, Southeast Minnesota TZD Regional Coordinator; Sheriff Scott Rose, Dodge County Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff Tom Kaase, Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office; and Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol.
Over the past five years, there have been 433 drunk driving-related fatalities in Minnesota, with 74 deaths (preliminary) taking place in 2016.
The Southeast Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program brings area law enforcement, public health educators, engineers and emergency medical and trauma services together to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and severe injuries to zero in southeast Minnesota. The 11-county area encompasses Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha and Winona counties.