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Toward Zero Death Conference in Rochester

Created: 05/01/2014 6:19 PM KAALtv.com
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has been pushing their "Toward Zero Deaths" campaign for 10 years, looking at all factors that lead to crashes in the state. Law enforcement agencies from all across the state gathered in Rochester to listen to a story from a family who lost a loved one, reminding them just how important their job is.
 
"Every part of it is hard, but had you asked us to do this (present at the event) a year ago, there's no way we could've done it," said Jason Jech, the son of a fatal crash victim. It's been one year, but it's still very challenging for the Jech family to talk about the loss of their husband, father, and grandfather, Marvin Jech. He was killed at the deadly intersection of Highway 14 and Highway 42 near Eyota. A truck ran the stop sign there, Jech didn’t have time to hit the brakes.
 
This was the first time the Jech family talked publicly on the tragedy, but they chose this day for an important reason. “He wouldn't want anyone else to die for no reason so this was an opportunity to share that, and even beyond that, we had the state patrol who had shown so much compassion and we wanted to make sure they understood how much we appreciated that,” said Jech.
 
Law enforcement officials there told us stories like this help them do their best out on the roads. “I think it motivates us so much to come and listen to families like the Jech's who I've personally known for 28 years," said Lt. Dan Lewis with the Minnesota State Patrol.
 
Officers can give citations and warnings urging safe driving habits, but they say, “It's not to write tickets. That's not our goal. Our goal is to make sure people are safe," said Lt. Lewis.
 
It’s stories like the one the Jech's shared, that really bring the message home. “It is frustrating, and its' disappointing at most, and it’s very sad," said Jech.
 

Photo: ABC 6 News