The loss of a husband and wife and their two children in a collision that is alleged to have been caused by a drunk driver is dredging up painful memories for many in Saskatchewan.

Allan Kerpan lost his 25-year-old daughter Danille in a crash on Thanksgiving in 2014, and has empathy for the friends and family of Jordan and Chanda Van de Vorst, who died along with their five-year-old daughter and two-year-old son on Sunday.

"I didn't know before we lost Danille how deep the grief and the sadness and the sorrow is," Kerpan said Wednesday. "But I know what it feels like for that family today and that's very, very hurtful."

The other driver in the crash that killed his daughter is facing charges of impaired driving.

The deaths of the Van de Vorst family also bring up strong emotions for Ted Gross, but for completely opposite reasons.

In 1998, Gross drove drunk and killed a 21-year-old woman in Regina. He was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in jail and spent a total of nine months behind bars.

"You go from one day thinking your life's pretty normal to the next day essentially a cold-blooded murderer," he told radio station CJME.

Gross' blood alcohol limit was three times the legal limit. He didn't remember the crash at all. In fact, his first recollection was waking up in a jail cell.

"I thought I was invincible. I thought something like this will never happen to me or it always happens to someone else," he explained. "When it came to the choice of drinking and driving I never thought I'd be responsible for something as tragic as what I was."

He said no sentence can truly reflect the loss of somebody's life.

"Do I think it's fair? No. I took a life and 3 1/2 years or even if its 10 years — it's never fair."

Both Gross and Kerpan believe in stiffer penalties for drunk drivers. Kerpan thinks there should be a three strikes type of law where after three times of being convicted for impaired driving, an individual loses their licence.

Catherine McKay, 49, faces four charges of impaired driving causing death in the crash that killed the Van de Vorsts, as well as four counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.

McKay has been remanded in custody and is to appear in court again on Thursday.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press


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