Two Calgary families spent the weekend saying goodbye to a young woman and a father, both killed in a crash caused by an accused impaired driver last week.

"There are too many men, and they're not kids anymore that believe that life is a playground," said Dan Lavallee, speaking to the family and friends gathered for the funeral of his daughter Jillian Saturday.

"So I'm really hoping that if even a few people are affected and some lives are saved by this....I would never wish this on anybody."

Jillian Lavallee, 25, was riding in a cab in south Calgary early last Saturday when a Cadalliac Escalade that tore through a red light, colliding with a sedan before hitting striking the taxi.

The cab's driver, 46-year-old Amritpal Kharbanda, died at the scene. Lavallee was taken to hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries hours later. The driver of the sedan, as well as two passengers in the Escalade, were sent to hospital.

The driver of the SUV, who received minor injuries, has been charged with impaired driving causing death. Police said the 20-year-old could still face more charges in relation to the crash.

Since Lavallee's death, her family has taken to the streets of the city, trying to raise awareness of drunk driving, including a rally held on the day of her funeral.

The family has raised nearly $70,000 so far. Some of that money will be donated to the loved ones of the crash's other victim — Kharbanda, a father who was the sole breadwinner for his family.

The families have grown close in the aftermath of the tragedy, with some of Kharbanda's family and friends attending Lavallee's funeral.

"We are here to share her pain with our family … because we've been going through a lot," said Maninder Walia, a friend of the Kharbanda family.

He said he the pain of losing his friend is still raw, and that he has found himself nervous in the past week while behind the wheel, constantly being reminded of the crash that killed Kharbanda

"When somebody now cuts you off on the road ... your hands start shaking because it just reminds you of the devastating effect that we are going through," he said.

The accused driver remains in custody awaiting a bail hearing.

Source: CBC News


Last updated on: 2015-07-21 | Link to this post