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Oct. 14, 2022

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Toward Zero Deaths presents awards to traffic safety leaders throughout Minnesota

Eleven individuals, one organization honored for efforts that help drive Minnesota road deaths to zero

ST CLOUD, Minn. – Eleven individuals were recognized by Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program representatives at the 2022 TZD Conference Wednesday, Oct. 12, for their innovative efforts to reduce the number of traffic deaths and injuries in the state.

The prestigious traffic safety awards are presented annually by the Minnesota departments of health, public safety and transportation at the annual TZD Conference. The awards recognize excellence and innovation in reducing the number of life-changing crashes and improving traffic safety on Minnesota roads. Nearly 900 traffic safety professionals attended this year’s TZD conference in-person in St. Cloud, or online.

Dakota County Traffic Engineer Kristi Sebastian received the Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award, TZD’s top honor, for exceptional leadership in efforts to improve traffic safety in Minnesota. Two individuals in law enforcement received the Distinguished Public Leadership Award for efforts that improve public safety policy and programs in ways that benefit society.

Boyd Huppert, long-time KARE-11 television journalist and host of the weekly “Land of 10,000 Stories,” is recipient of the TZD Media Award for his high-profile coverage of the life-changing impacts of traffic crashes.

A summary of all 2022 TZD Awards presented on Oct. 12 is listed below. More details on each award, along with more information and photos of each award winner, can found on the 2022 TZD Awards website.

Twin Cities Metro area winners

  • TZD Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award – Dakota County Traffic Engineer Kristi Sebastian
  • TZD Distinguished Public Leadership Award (Twin Cities Metro area) – Chief Jeff Tate, Shakopee Police Department
  • TZD Media Award – Boyd Huppert, KARE-11 television journalist
  • TZD Traffic Safety Innovation Award – Richfield Police Department
  • TZD Child Passenger Safety Star Award – Officer Ryan Kuffel, Eden Prairie Police Department
  • TZD Engineering Star Award – State Traffic Safety Engineer Derek Leuer, MnDOT

Greater Minnesota winners

  • TZD Distinguished Public Leadership Award (Greater Minnesota) – Sheriff Kevin Torgerson, Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office
  • TZD Emerging Leader Award – Ava Chen, Kylie Karsky and Molly McCloud, 2021 interns for the Shreya R. Dixit Foundation
  • TZD Emerging Leader Award – Princeton High School SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) Organization
  • TZD Emergency and Trauma Services Star Award – Flight Paramedic Josh Duda, North Memorial Health Air Care, Brainerd
  • TZD Enforcement Star Award – Deputy Chad Myers, Winona County Sheriff’s Office
  • TZD Education Star Award – TZD Coalition Coordinator Mary Erickson, Renville County

TZD Star Awards are presented annually to individuals and organizations in Minnesota that show excellence in TZD’s emphasis areas of enforcement, emergency medical and trauma services, education, engineering, child passenger safety and judicial/court systems. Award recipients have shown their leadership and creative capacities in efforts to improve traffic safety throughout the state and build partnerships.

The Minnesota TZD program is an interdisciplinary partnership led by the state departments of health, transportation and public safety. This collaboration began in 2003 and has worked to reduce roadway fatalities by 25 percent.

Learn more about TZD or how to get involved at minnesotatzd.org.