Exactly a year after four-year-old Alexa Middelaer's life was cut short by a suspected impaired driver, friends and family are hoping to change the way people think about drinking and driving.

The youngster was struck and killed while she was feeding horses with her aunt on an East Ladner roadside while the child's grandparents waited in a nearby vehicle. Her aunt was also seriously injured.

Hundreds gathered at a White Rock pub Sunday to honour the sad anniversary of the little girl's death.

Speaking after a video montage played of the little girl, Alexa's mother, Laurel Middelaer, said their cause is double edged.

"We will honour our daughter and make the necessary changes that, number one, cause a deterrence, and number two -- more importantly -- inspire people to raise the standard of social responsibility," she said.

Carol Berner, 56, has been charged with impaired driving and dangerous driving in connection to Alexa's death, but the criminal proceedings will not begin until Thursday.

Her parents aren't waiting for the courts for resolution -- they want a solution to the rising number of impaired driving deaths.

"It is an opportunity for all of us to look at these types of collisions as a pure consequence of some really poor decisions," her father, Michael Middelaer, said.

The family wants tougher sentences for drunk drivers, but is also pleading for people to be more responsible in the first place.

We know the perils of drinking and driving," Lauren Middelaer said.

"I think we need a shift -- that it is a bigger problem. In B.C. last year it was three fatalities per week."

Alan Lamb of BCAA's Traffic Safety Foundation says it's a chronic problem in the province.

"They injure 60 people a week in British Columbia," Lamb said. "So it's time we took a stance on people who continue to drink and drive."

Part of that stance is Sunday's walk of awareness to honour Alexa. Step by step, supporters hope every driver will take the time to slow down and think about their actions.

The family hopes the walk will become an annual event.

"I think this gives people an opportunity to voice their concerns and show their support for us," Mark Middelaer said.

"So I absolutely hope they will be here next year by our side because that's what keeps us strong and keeps us sane."

Source: CTV News Vancouver


Last updated on: 2015-04-06 | Link to this post