ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Minnesota traffic fatalities have surged above previous years and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is asking all drivers to drive smart to reduce further casualties.
Seventeen-year-old Dylan Delaney was the first person to die in a traffic accident in Minnesota in 2020. Days later, 15-year-old Spencer Douglas, the other passenger in the car, succumbed to his injuries.
His mother, Sarah Delaney, was one of the EMTs who responded to the accident. She soon realized her son was involved.
She spoke at an event to highlight the increase in Minnesota traffic deaths at Soldiers Field Tuesday morning. Through the falling snow and her tears, she talked about her son, her family's loss and how traffic fatalities impact lives forever.
"I would give anything for him to walk through the door and start arguing with his sisters. January 1st was a day like no other," Delaney said.
More than 300 chairs were displayed on the field during the event. Each one represented a life lost this year in Minnesota because of vehicle accidents. The empty chairs served as a reminder that a loved one will not be here this holiday season.
According to local and state officials last year between April 1st and May 21st there was 288 traffic related deaths, this year between that time frame there was 314.
"More aggressive driving started when the pandemic started," Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson said. "People started taking more chances."
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said every driver needs to do their part to drive safely to reduce traffic fatalities. That includes slowing down and not being distracted.