Ray and Bev Hostyn, Angela Waskayich and Kathy Mitchell, unveiled a bench outside the Centennial Aquatic Centre on Saturday. The bench will serve as a memorial to the victims of impaired driving

A stone bench now stands at Centennial Aquatic centre silently reminding those who pass by of the tragic consequences of drunk driving.

The granite seat stands strong for people like Kirsta Sandy, an 18-year-old student from Barrie killed by a drunk driver in 2008.

Sandy's grandmother, Bev Hostyn was in Collingwood for the bench dedication on Saturday, Aug. 23.

Hostyn said her granddaughter got into a truck without knowing the driver was drunk.

"After screaming for the driver to stop, she was thrown from the truck as it left the road at high speeds and rolled into a corn field," Hostyn said.  "She cried out for help but was left to bleed to death, alone in the dark … We're living a lifetime sentence of grief … It will never go away. Our family has never been the same."

The bench at Centennial pool is one of six across Canada dedicated to victims of drunk driving. The benches are part of a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) initiative to help stop impaired driving and support the victims of drunk driving deaths.

"We're hoping these benches throughout the communities that be a reminder," said Angela Waskayich, vice president of MADD Barrie/Simcoe. "When you (sit on the bench), think about those loved ones and think about those victims who have lost their lives due to this senseless crime."

In Canada four people a day are killed by drunk driving and 174 are injured, according to Waskayich.

Hostyn, impacted so greatly by the death of her granddaughter has dedicated herself to working with MADD and speaking in schools.

"If we can save one life, that's what were doing it for. And to pray that no other family has to go through what our family did," she said. "I'm seeing young people starting to get it a little more."

Kathy Mitchell of Stouffville, lost her niece Ashley Fogal in 2011. The 23-year-old was with a friend on her way to Casino Rama to see a Miranda Lambert concert. A driver crossed the centre line on Rama Road and struck the vehicle, killing Fogal instantly.

"I can't even describe the feeling I had when my nephew woke me to say she had been killed in a car accident," said Mitchell. "Those were his words - but now that we know it was an impaired person, you can't use the word accident because it's not."

Mitchell is president of the York Region chapter of MADD.

She said the bench is a great way to remember the victims.

"You never want your loved one forgotten and when you see something like this, you know they are remembered," Mitchell said


Last updated on: 2014-08-29 | Link to this post