ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - While the message is simple, it’s one that far too many ignore. If you plan to drink this holiday season, plan a sober ride.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of Jay. Not a day,” said Kim Norbeck, whose son Jason was killed by a drunk driver in 2011.
Every holiday season, Norbeck remains resilient.
“Jason was a big guy…he was 6’5 and 300 lbs, and could he hug. He had an awesome heart,” she said. “I’ve got to turn this tragic situation into something good.”
And every day since April 19, 2011, Norbeck wakes up to face a loss that for many would be impossible, the loss of her 21-year-old son.
“He went out on a date that night,” she said. “They went bowling, he left his girlfriend’s after watching a movie, just entered the highway and was hit head-on by a wrong way driver that was drunk.”
The crash instantly killed Jason and the other driver, 49-year-old Reggie White of west St. Paul.
“I don’t get to see my son continue dating and getting married,” Norbeck said. “I don’t get to see him on the holidays, we have an empty chair. Actually, we don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving; it’s just another day.”
Every November since the crash, Kim adorns her car with Jason’s story.
“I try every holiday season to get the word out because people party,” she said. “You don’t know what it does to a family. Yeah you’ll get a DWI, yeah you’ll lose your license, yeah you got to blow into something to make your car, you lose time and go to jail, this is what I get…what I have of Jay now is a box of ashes and pictures on the walls.”
Kim also shares a reminder this holiday season to spare others the pain she endures.
“One drink can impair you. You get behind the wheel of that car, and it’s like a bullet and a gun,” she said. “I hope they think twice, they look and they look again.”
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, every single day in the U.S., 27 people die at the hands of a drunk driver. This, Norbeck said, is why she shares her son's story wherever and with whomever she can.