October 5, 2012 is a day that’s burned into Bill Blahun’s memory.

“I remember that day as if it were an hour ago,” he says.

It was the Friday before the Thanksgiving Day long weekend; he and his wife of 43 years, Dianne, were heading to Jasper for their niece’s wedding. The Blahuns had left their Edmonton home around 9 that morning and were about 45 minutes into their drive – talking about what they would do when they arrived – when the unthinkable happened.

“My wife says, ‘Look out.’ Those were her last words.”

Blahun recalls gripping the steering wheel; then before he could do anything else, their vehicle was struck by what turned out to be an impaired driver.

“When I had finally stopped the car, she was unconscious and bleeding from the mouth. I will never, ever, ever forget that.”

Blahun himself suffered seven broken ribs, a broken collar bone, internal bleeding, as well as liver and kidney damage. Still, he feels lucky to be alive.

Nearly a year and a half later, though, the devastation of his loss has not gotten any easier.

“What I miss is when I come home, she’s not there. Even today, you have this expectation that when I walk in the door she will be there, or I will know where she is. Like maybe she went to golf, or maybe she went to visit some friends.”

Daniel Curtis Hoffman pleaded guilty to impaired driving in the crash that claimed Dianne Blahun’s life. He will be sentenced April 22.

According to statistics from Alberta Transportation, the crash was one of 931 in 2012 in which the driver had been drinking. The numbers also show one in five drivers involved in fatal crashes drank before getting behind the wheel; and men between the ages 18 and 21 were more likely to have drank alcohol before a crash than any other age group.

Cpl. Colette Zazulak of Spruce Grove/Stony Plain RCMP, who attended the Blahun’s crash and many others like it over the past 18 years, believes the problem of impaired driving spans all age groups.

“We have public education, we have campaigns, we have incredibly disappointing personal stories, tragedies, and there’s still people getting behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking,” she says.

“I could go out on patrol any hour of the day and it wouldn’t take long to catch an impaired driver.”

That’s why Blahun is sharing his story. He hopes it can make people think twice about the consequence of drinking and drinking.

Blahun says his late wife never even had a parking ticket, much less a drink before driving. So the fact that she lost her life to an impaired driver is that much more devastating to him.

“I’m trying not to become bitter,” he says. “I understand that I need to move on with my life. But that’s real easy to say, very easy to say. It’s a lot harder to do.”


Source: Global News




Last updated on: 2014-04-25 | Link to this post