Sister of deceased man calls for breathalyzers in every car

While her two children were growing up, Brenda Wood frequently made her own salsa and jam preserves.

Since the crash that claimed her son's life nine months ago, she can do little else.

"I can't grieve, because that would be accepting it," said the tearful Newmarket mother. "I can't accept it, so I make my jam and my salsa."

Kristen and Brenda Woods are still mourning the death of their brother and son, respectively, Michael Holden. He died in collision with a suspected impaired driver Jan. 17, 2016. The accused is a mother who had three girls in the car with her at the time of the collision. Sept. 26, 2016

It was on Jan. 17 that Michael Holden, Wood's 26-year-old son, was driving down Green Lane on his way to his mother's house from work in King City.

No one is exactly sure what happened, however police say a mother-of-three, with two 12-year-olds and a 13-year-old in her Kia Rondo, pulled into the intersection, resulting in Michael's death. That mother-of-three has been charged with impaired driving.

The crash occurred 18 days before Marco Muzzo pled guilty to drunk driving causing death. He was later sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing Daniel Neville-Lake, 9, his siblings Harrison, 5, and Milagros (Milly), 2, and their grandfather, Gary Neville.

Now Wood must go through what Edward and Jennifer Neville-Lake had to when they sat in a Newmarket courtroom listening to how their children died because of one bad decision.

"I used to be a calm and spiritual person," Wood said. "I am losing that, because now I'm angry. I've never been angry."

She explained how she spends her days pacing around her home, entering her son's room, kissing his pictures and breaking down in tears.

Wood is not the only one deeply affected by the tragedy. Her daughter Kristen, of Newmarket, is also in bad shape.

"He was such a good person inside," Kristen said of her brother. "Everyone loved him. He'd always be there to do something stupid and cheer me up."

Kristen said she has been managing to cope through her belief that her brother is leaving heart-shaped rocks for her — stones she finds and collects.

This is just one of several fatal crashes allegedly caused by impaired drivers that have occurred in York Region since that Sept. 27 afternoon, when Marco Muzzo's truck plowed into the van carrying the Neville-Lake children, their grandparents and great-grandmother. York police say the number of drivers charged with impaired driving has risen sharply since 2012.

The case of Holden's death has yet to be heard in court.

Tara Gawlik, 36, from Newmarket, has been charged with impaired driving causing death.

Even if there is a conviction, Kristen said no sentence could fit the alleged crime.

"What is she going to get? Two years? That's not enough," she said. "Twenty years wouldn't be enough. I still won't have my brother. Feeling guilty is not good enough. She gets Christmas with her family; we don't."

Instead of trials, prison sentences and heartache, Kristen's thinks she has a better idea.

"Why don't they put breathalyzers in each car," she said. "Don't let people drive without knowing for sure they haven't had a drink. If they can make cars that parallel park themselves, they can can do this."

Statistics from MADD show almost half of all crashes that end in fatalities in 2014 were related to drugs and alcohol.

"People either don't care, don't think it will happen to them or believe they're not going to get caught," she said.

She thinks it's time to take that choice out of people's hands.

Source: York Region News


Last updated on: 2016-10-10 | Link to this post