Reporting Liz Collin
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Twin Cities widow is sending a strong message about drinking and driving, and the message is brought in four public service announcements.
Kelly Hettwer Olsen is helping to launch a new campaign that will hit airwaves next month across the country. It’s from a night five years ago, a night that tore a young couple apart.
“The closer you get to feeling that the more likely you are to make a change,” Kelly Olsen said.
Five years ago, her husband, Jeff Hettwer, left a St. Francis bar and never made it home.
Hettwer, a talented Twin Cities artist, died in the backseat of a car being driven by a man that had too much to drink.
Sitting in front of the last piece of artwork he finished, Kelly continues to use her heartbreak to help others.
“We had some really raw audio footage that I thought would make an impact on people,” Kelly Olsen said.
She then worked with a director for months to script a series of public service announcements.
“The fourth and final PSA puts you in my shoes,” she said. “Where you’re being woken in the middle of the night to be notified by the sheriff that someone you love has died.”
Lt. Bryon Fuerst with the Anoka County Sheriff’s Department pieced the scene together.
An actor played his role, but that’s his voice you hear.
“It’s just a decision that you can’t take back,” Fuerst said.
So, with the summer driving season upon us, Kelly Olson wants people to make a plan to keep this scene from playing out again.
“There’s no guarantee you’ll make it,” she said. “There’s no guarantee you’ll make it home.”
A judge gave the man behind the wheel that night a staggered sentence, so, each June he goes to jail for the entire month. He’ll begin serving his final month-long sentence next month.
A golf tournament on Sunday will be held in Jeff Hettwer name.