In 2014, 55 people died in collisions involving alcohol on Saskatchewan roads. Allan Kerpan’s daughter Danille was one of them. 

The 25-year-old was driving on Highway 11 on Oct. 10, 2014 when she was struck and killed.

The man charged in her death, John Koch, is charged with drunk driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

“Until this happened in our family, I had no idea of the impact, the sorrow, the grief that accompanies something like this,” Allan Kerpan said.

Kerpan, a former Saskatchewan MLA and MP, said the crash that killed a family of four last weekend only reinforces the need for more education around the dangers of drinking and driving, and harsher punishment for drunk drivers. 

Saskatchewan has more than twice the national average of drinking and driving cases than the rest of the province, according to Statistics Canada. 

In 2014, the province had 1,135 alcohol or drug-related collisions, resulting in 55 deaths and 530 injuries.

Kerpan said things need to change, especially with the older generation that grew up in the time of “booze cruises.”

“Our society has to change its mindset where it is socially unacceptable to drink and drive,” he said.

Politicians could be part of the solution, he said. While Saskatchewan has tightened its drinking and driving laws in recent years, he says more random road side checks, and harsher penalties for repeat drunk drivers, could have a real impact. 

“I want someone, somewhere, to tell me why someone who has four or five or ten DUI convictions, why they still have a driver’s licence,” he said. 

He was pleased to hear that Premier Brad Wall is open to the idea of asking the federal government to amend the Criminal Code as it pertains to drunk driving crimes, he said, adding that since 2016 is an election year, now is a as good a time as any to start lobbying for changes. 

“It’s got to be a balance between prevention and punishment,” he said. 

Kerpan is waiting to see what happens in court with Koch’s case on Thursday.

He will be thinking about the Van De Vorst family, and his heart is breaking for everyone who knew them, he said.

Source: The Star Phoenix


Last updated on: 2016-01-29 | Link to this post