WILLMAR — The new Toward Zero Deaths coordinator for the southwest region is Melissa Hjelle. She will oversee the TZD program in 14 counties in west central and southwest Minnesota.

In her new role, Hjelle will represent MnDOT and the Department of Public Safety in communicating the vision, mission and goals of the Toward Zero Deaths program. She will be the first point of contact for the media and public seeking information on the program in her coverage area.

Hjelle has a bachelor's degree in social work from St. Cloud State University. She has previous work experience as a injury prevention specialist, care coordinator and social worker.