Plan a safe ride on July 4, urges mother of victim killed by drunk driver

- While most of us celebrate this Fourth of July, one Minnesota mom copes with the loss of her first and only son.

"Jason loved holidays, every holiday," Kim Norbeck of Maplewood shared.

On back of her SUV you'll find the warning: "Drunk Driving Kills." Along the passengers' side windows - a display of graphic photos of her son's final moments.

“The body bag, the slumped at the wheel…this is reality. It doesn’t get turned around; they don’t pop back to life,” Norbeck said.

On April 19 in 2011, just two months shy of his 22nd birthday, Jason was killed.

“He’d just entered the highway onto I-94 off of Dowling and was maybe on there 500 feet and was hit head-on by a wrong-way drunk driver,” Norbeck said.

Reggie White, 49, of West St. Paul was the wrong-way driver. White's toxicology tests measured his blood alcohol level at .20. He, too, died in the crash that claimed Jason's life.

“Here’s a young man who was doing everything right: he dropped his friends off, was on his way home, and he was hit by a wrong-way driver who was highly impaired by alcohol,” said Lt. Tiffani Nielson of the Minnesota State Patrol.

Though the crash happened six years ago, Nielson said Jason’s story serves as a timely reminder.

“We’ve already arrested 329 impaired drivers since Friday night,” she said. “It’s preventable. It’s totally preventable.”

Kim Norbeck’s front yard memorial also helps her keep Jason’s memory alive. Here she reflects, "What would he be doing now?" Something she wonders every single day.

“Would he have bought a house by now? Would he have been married, had a child on the way?”

Those heart-rending will remain unanswered.

This just one reason she'll share her son's story with anyone who'll listen.

“If I can get somebody to see this and say it’s reality and this is real and they won’t do it, I’ve accomplished something,” she said.

Last Fourth of July weekend was the second worst holiday weekend for DWI arrests in Minnesota, with 407 people booked.

Unfortunately, State Patrol says we're on pace for a similar number of arrests this holiday weekend. 
Nielson urges anyone who plans on drinking to plan a sober ride in advance.

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