Nov 28, 2015 - SUDBURY TRAGEDIES THAT BREAK THE HEART

The sister of a promising young hockey player killed by a drunk driver in August 2014 still isn't sure she is ready to talk about the tragedy.

Jaymie Hancock and her family are still learning to cope with the loss of her little brother Dean (DJ), 18.

A nurse, Jaymie Hancock has read reports about the fatality, and seen pictures of what was left of DJ's car after he was hit by Walter Carter, then 39.

Carter had three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood when he killed DJ. He was also under a court order not to consume alcohol because of a drinking-and-driving incident earlier in the year.

Hancock was on his way home to Sudbury after trying out for the Sudbury Nickel Barons in Lively when his vehicle was struck by Carter.

Every time Jaymie sees someone interacting with a brother, she feels jealous, she admitted at a news conference Friday to launch the 2015 Tie One On Red Ribbon Campaign. The campaign raises awareness about impaired driving and tries to get to people before they get behind the wheel after drinking.

Hancock spoke to about 30 people, saying she learned her brother quickly went into a coma and bystanders at first thought gasoline was pouring from his car because there so much liquid. It was, in fact, her brother's blood.

Hancock didn't realize until DJ was killed how often people are charged with impaired driving, and every incident is insulting and hurtful to families like hers.

Carolyn Snow, a third-year student at Laurentian University, contacted Ron Roy, chair of Action Sudbury, Citizens Against Drunk Driving, to ask if she could speak at the 27th annual event.

Snow said her vehicle was hit by a drunk driver when she was 17 on her way home from the movies. She suffered a "semi-serious" concussion and other injuries, but is grateful to be alive.

"That night could have turned out much worse," she said. She has become an advocate speaking about the dangers of impaired driving and will continue to caution people about it for life.

Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas attended the launch of the Red Ribbon Campaign for the ninth straight year. Stories like the ones told by Hancock and Caolyn Snow are powerful and will affect change, said the New Democrat MPP. She urged people to tell them to their families when gathering over Christmas. And she encouraged people to be part of a movement to change the way society regards drunk driving.

Drunk driving accidents are 100% preventable, said Gelinas, and yet the statistics about the number of charges of impaired driving laid are "gruesome. We don't seem to be learning."

Gelinas also warned that communities have to prepare for the legalization of marijuana and how it will affect drivers.

Greater Sudbury Police Service Chief Paul Pedersen called people such as Snow and Hancock heroes, not for the tragedies their families have suffered, but because they are helping police deliver a message in a powerful, personal way.

"You are saving lives," Pedersen told them.

He choked up when he talked about the courage it took for the young women to speak publicly.

He commended Action Sudbury for its long-running Red Ribbon Campaign, saying: "If you make one person think, you've saved one life."

The chief spoke to the issue of drivers impaired by marijuana, and prescription and street drugs. Some Sudbury officers are trained to determine if motorists are impaired by drugs with tests other than those used for alcohol.

During the December 2014 RIDE program run by Greater Sudbury Police, 7,680 drivers were stopped, said Pedersen. Six people were charged with impaired driving, "six potential killers on our roads," said the chief.

The number of impaired driving charges in Sudbury has risen 4% this year, he said.

Emily Roeterink, a student at Confederation Secondary School, is a representative for Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving. She often speaks to students about the danger of texting while driving. "No text is worth your life," she said.

Look for students bagging groceries at Neil's Independent Grocer in Hanmer and at the Real Canadian Superstore in New Sudbury. They will accept donations to fund OSAID activities.

Roeterink said some day the message about drunk driving will get through to people, "and then we can stop telling" them about it.

OPP Sgt. Michael Mayville is acting detachment commander in Sudbury. After witnessing Pedersen's reaction to the stories told by the two young women, he said: "It really gets to us. It gives true meaning to what we do."

OPP officers will be out in force until Jan. 2, to help reduce impaired driving charges. He presented figures that show the number of warnings issued to motorists who register just over the legal limit of alcohol consumption to drive has risen 66.69 in the last year.

The Rollande Mousseau Award was presented to Candice Kirkbride, a motivational speaker who talks about a serious accident she was in. Mousseau has been involved in Action Sudbury since the beginning.

Kirkbride and boyfriend A.J. Chaput, 16, were among seven teens walking on Deschene Road in Val Therese toward the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre to call a cab March 11, 2001, when a 19-year-old driver plowed into the group.

Chaput and Kirkbride, then 15, took the brunt of the impact. Kirkbride, who flew 35 feet, was left unconscious, while Chaput died at the scene.

Kirkbride began working in the anti-drunk driving movement and said, at first, "we were like pariahs." They had a difficult time getting high-profile people to be featured in campaign ads.

Roy told the audience more than 2,000 people have because of drunk drivers in Ontario since 2002. He urged motorists to tie a red ribbon on the antennae of their vehicles as a sign of their commitment not to drink and drive.

Red ribbons are available at all branches of Sudbury Credit Union and post offices.

Source: The Sudbury Star


 

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