MAPLEWOOD, Minn. (WCCO) — Scattered across Kim Norbeck’s dining room table are startling and sobering pictures.
“This is Jason’s car hit at 60 mph head-on,” Norbeck said as she held up a picture of a mangled Jeep Liberty.
Her son, 21-year-old Jason Norbeck, was driving it on April 19, 2011, along Interstate 94 near the Lowry Tunnel in Minneapolis. Another driver who was on the wrong side of the interstate hit Jason’s Jeep head-on, killing him. The images offer a devastating and detailed glimpse at the final moments Jason was alive.
“I also think because I’ve lost a loved one, I think of all the other parents that are out there that have lost a child or lost a family member to drunken driving,” she said.
That happened for Norbeck this weekend when she learned of a similar crash along State Highway 64 near Somerset, Wisconsin. The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office said a driver on the wrong side of the road hit Stefanie Biedler head-on, killing her. They say alcohol was a possible factor in the crash.
Friends described Biedler as a young woman with a big heart who had a passion for riding and raising horses.
Biedler was 21 years old, just like Norbeck’s son.
“My heart just goes out to (Biedler’s family). I know that journey and it doesn’t get better. You learn to live with it,” she said.
And channel it, in Norbeck’s case.
“Keep reminding people, be your child’s voice,” she said.
Norbeck wears shirts bearing Jason’s face, ready to tell his story to those who ask. She posts pictures of her son’s mangled vehicle on her car as a warning to others along with messages.
One of them reads, “If you’re celebrating this holiday season, plan ahead and prepare for a cab or a sober ride or a designated driver,” bordered by decorative stickers that look like Christmas tree lights.
Her mission isn’t just to stop drunk drivers, but potentially save lives, so more families like Biedler’s don’t have to spend their holiday season sharing the same pain.
“It’s preventable,” she said.
In Minnesota, more than 300 law enforcement agencies are in the midst of a DWI crackdown. It started just before Thanksgiving and runs through Dec. 30. During that same time span last year, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said 2,717 drivers were arrested for DWI.