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There is a real person behind every death on Minnesota roads. I’m reminded of that every time I sit down and talk to a family who has lost a loved one. So many times, we here at the InjuryBoard write about collisions of people we don’t know and will never know. I try to write each story with an eye toward future safety and what could have been done differently. The point is to prevent another similar incident from happening again. I’ve appreciated it when I have been contacted after a post by a family member who thanks me for pointing out the safety consideration. I think it comforts people to think that the loss of their loved one was not in vain; that maybe somehow their tragedy might help to save lives in the future.

And so, it was especially interesting to read a Minneapolis Tribune follow up on a Lino Lakes wreck I wrote about last week, involving the death of Hugo resident Sara Kaufman. It was very sad to read, but it also was a nice piece on the human that was lost.

Kaufman was only a couple of weeks into a job at a collection agency, one of two jobs she had, said her father, Stuart, of St. Louis Park. It wasn’t her choice for a career, he said, but "she was happy to be finally working."

Her passion, her father and college friend Ami Keene said, was anthropology, one of the many subjects she studied at Century College. While there, she served in the Student Senate, was active in theater and worked on the newspaper, Keene said.

She also was president of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, which made her father especially proud because she overcame a host of learning problems as a child, he said.

"She was hitting her stride and didn’t look back," he said. "She was the most lively person who you ever could meet."

That positive attitude led to a wide circle of friends at Century, Keene said.

This is just another reason why we need to keep working to drop the number of road deaths on Minnesota roads. The numbers are down for 2009 and were down for 2008 also, this is a trend that is good, but still is always one too many. Sara Kaufman was one of those.

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