This year's local festive RIDE program is in honour of Christa (Lukenda) Michaud, struck and killed in 2013 by a suspected impaired driver.

Those who knew and loved Christa (Lukenda) Michaud best are proud her image will be a vivid reminder over the holiday season of the perils of getting behind the wheel impaired.

 "We're honoured she's the face of the campaign," says Danielle Lukenda Lamming, referring to MADD Canada's holiday efforts to quell drunk driving that include a national billboard campaign in which Christa is featured prominently among the faces of dozens of victims.

Speaking of the loss, of course, yields reminders of the tragedy that struck her family. But, for Lukenda Lamming, it also conjures up wonderful memories of a beloved sister, so full fun.

"She was so humble … She wouldn't want her face posted on there," Lukenda Lamming says with a laugh. "She'd hate that. She'd probably be very critical of herself."

Christa (Lukenda) Michaud, 28, the youngest of 10 children, was struck by a pickup truck near the intersection of McNabb Street and Algoma Avenue on the evening of Aug. 31, 2013. A Sault Ste. Marie man, Michael Casselman, since deceased, was charged with impaired driving causing death and operating a motor vehicle, exceeding the legal limit, causing death. The matter never made it to trial.

Christa had been married to Ryan for just over a year.

"She's just the image of everyone … It could be your neighbour or your friend or people that you don't know, but you might come across with six degrees of separation," Lukenda Lamming told the Sault Star.

The MADD campaign, currently being launched where chapters exist, asks drivers to tie red ribbons on their vehicles over the holiday season as a sign of support for victims and their families, as well as a commitment to drive sober.

Lukenda Lamming said she hopes the message is getting across, but becomes discouraged upon reading of impaired driving charges.

"Yes, they caught someone, but these people are still doing it," she said. "They're still drunk driving. You'd think they'd know better. It's the people they were with, too. You should know to tell someone, 'Don't drink and drive.' I'm hoping it's changing, but you don't really know."

A year after Christa's death, the Sault Star spoke with Lukenda family members, who relayed the pain they still endured, often unable to escape regular reminders of the tragedy.

"I'm not against going out and having a drink, or having wine with dinner or having a beer somewhere," Lukenda Lamming said. "But don't get in the car and be the driver."

Another of Christa's siblings, Rachel Corrigan, spoke when the MADD campaign was recently launched in Edmonton, where she and her family reside.

"She would have been such a loving mother," Corrigan told Edmonton media. "There's a missing part in our family. I'm just hoping this will open some eyes."

There is no Sault Ste. Marie MADD chapter, but Lukenda family members, including Lukenda Lamming, plan to attend the official launch of the local festive RIDE program on Tuesday.

In fact, the RIDE program here will be in honour of Christa, says Sgt. Ray Magnan, head of traffic services with Sault Ste. Marie Police Service.

"They really want to get the message out there," he said of the Lukenda family. "We're happy to have them."

The RIDE launch is slated for 11 a.m. Tuesday on McNabb Street, near Lock City Dairies. OPP are also slated to take part and RCMP may also attend, Magnan said.

Source: Sault Star

Last updated on: 2015-12-14 | Link to this post