Molly Burton, 26, is still undergoing rehabilitation after being and struck by a car and left for dead in September 2013. 

More than a year after she was hit by a drunk driver on Comox Road and left for dead, Molly Burton and her mother are working toward starting a Mothers Against Drunk Drivers chapter, the first on the Island, in the Comox Valley.

Burton also wants to become a victim-support worker so she can help others affected by drinking and driving.

“That seems like a really good way helping other people heal,” she said. “It would help me heal as well.”

Burton, 26, is still undergoing rehabilitation to regain the use of her right leg, which needed reconstructive surgery to repair shattered bone and torn flesh. She can walk short distances with a cane, but mostly she’s confined to a wheelchair and still grappling with intense pain.

“I am healing but it’s very slow. It’s a long journey and it’s quite frustrating at times,” Burton said.

Burton was walking home from a movie along Comox Road just before midnight on Sept. 11, 2013, when she was struck by a car and thrown into a thick tangle of blackberry bushes. Her right arm and right leg shattered, Burton lay there for four hours, slipping in and out of consciousness and screaming for help. She was finally rescued thanks to a relentless search by Brody Fullerton, who heard her cries from his boat.

To get the MADD chapter up and running, Burton is working closely with Norm Prince, a volunteer with the organization for the past 12 years. Prince, who lives in Royston, was at the sentencing for the teen who hit Burton and fled the scene, and provided support and advocacy for the family.

Prince said there are are no MADD chapters on Vancouver Island but there are community leaders in Victoria and Port Hardy.

Burton is holding information sessions in the hopes of assembling a team of board members and volunteers in the Comox Valley area.

She’s also looking at doing public speaking at high schools about the consequences of drinking and driving.

Burton hopes to take MADD’s victim-support course next year.

“All this awful stuff [that happened to me], I need to put it somewhere and have some good come from it,” Burton said.

On Sept. 5, the 17-year-old driver, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was sentenced to three months of house arrest, a nine-month curfew and a year of probation as part of a 24-month intensive support and supervision order. The order includes a five-year driving prohibition and a requirement to perform 200 hours of community service within a year.

As part of a plea deal, charges of impaired driving and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle were stayed.

Burton and her family were unhappy with the sentence and wanted the teen to serve jail time.

The Crown prosecutor sought 41 1/2 months of jail time, saying the crime was a violent act and that the teen has a history of police complaints and a long list of driving offences.

Burton would like to see more severe penalties for drinking and driving, even though B.C. has some of the toughest impaired-driving legislation in Canada.

She says she welcomes the sight of police roadblocks across the Island and hopes they are successful in taking impaired drivers off the road.

Burton said especially around the holiday season, she wants to spread the message that if you drink, have a plan to get home that doesn’t involve driving.

“Don’t get behind the wheel. It’s not worth the risk. It’s not just yourself you’re putting in danger, it’s everyone else on the road.”

Source: Times Colonist


Last updated on: 2014-12-18 | Link to this post