Dec 06, 2015 - EDMONTON FAMILIES OF THOSE KILLED BY DRUNK DRIVERS GATHER FOR MADD VIGIL

(left to right) Jillian Phillips and Calico Dawn Riley console each other during the MADD Edmonton Candlelight Vigil at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 10037 - 84 Ave., in Edmonton, Alta.

“I saw him being born and I saw him die in four short years,” said Susan Semotiuk, weeping as she lit a candle next to a picture of her four-year-old grandson at the MADD Edmonton & Area Chapter’s Candlelight Vigil Sunday.

It was 17 years ago, but Semotiuk said it feels like just yesterday.

Her grandson, Michael Semotiuk, 4, and his parents had finished a family dinner for Good Friday and were setting off back home to Leduc for Easter. Michael would never make it.

Semotiuk got a call at 3 a.m. that a drunk drover had t-boned the car the young family had been travelling in. The driver hit them so hard Michael’s entire car seat was ejected through the back window. Michael’s lifeless body landed under the wheel of the car.

“His mom is still having a tough time today, and so am I. We miss him with all our hearts, he didn’t deserve this,” Semotiuk said.

Michael’s was just one of nearly a dozen portraits of victims of impaired drivers spread across an alter at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church as families and friends found strength amongst each other, sharing in each other’s grief.

“We are just there to remind people that you are not alone, that you’re not fighting this fight alone, you don’t hurt alone. There are other people who understand,” said Leila Andrews, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada Edmonton Chapter.

Andrews lit a candle for her uncle, killed by a drunk driver on Dec. 30, 2005, as he was driving home from work.

She said the suffering of those who have lost loved ones in intoxicated driving collisions is amplified by the senselessness of their deaths.

“Why do we keep doing it? Why do we keep adding families to these types of events when you see the pain and you see the hurt?” Asked Andrews. “We have the power to stop that, impaired driving crashes are one hundred per cent preventable. There is no reason any one of these families should be sitting here grieving today.”

In Alberta between 2009 to 2013, 444 people were killed and 6,649 people were injured by drunk drivers. In 2013 alone, 80 people died in collisions involving an intoxicated driver.

Source: Edmonton Sun


 

Last updated on: 2015-12-24 | Link to this post