A Fredericton woman who killed her friend while driving under the influence is using the holidays to spread a message about the dangers of drinking and driving.  

Julie Dorcas was driving home from a party in March 2007 when she came upon a sharp turn, lost control of her vehicle and drove off the shoulder of the road, killing her 19-year-old friend, Troy Price.

There were six people inside the then-26-year-old's vehicle.

"If you're one of those people that drink and drive and think that you're fine because you've been doing it for so long, then you need to wake up," an emotional Dorcas told CBC News.

"There's a lot of hurt going on right now. People need to stop doing it."

Dorcas pleaded guilty in Fredericton provincial court to a charge of impaired driving causing death. She served a 32-month sentence at Nova Institution for Women, a federal prison in Truro, N.S.

Prior to the crash, Dorcas said her biggest fear was getting caught while drinking and driving — and having her name in the paper.

Today her biggest fear is more people will get behind the wheel while under the influence.

"The worst punishment I have is for myself," said the mother of two boys. 

10 years later

It's been almost a decade since her friend's death — and Dorcas said it's harder today.

Although she's made peace with Price's father, Dorcas continues to struggle with the emotional aftermath of the crash. She said she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and wakes up every morning thinking about Price.

"I'm stuck reliving it all the time," she said.

Dorcas, who works at a gas station on Fredericton's north side, said she hears countless stories from customers retelling stories of Mike Burden, the motorcyclist that lost his leg due to an impaired driver, and Jennifer Dawn Brewer, the 24-year-old killed in an impaired driving accident and whose body was later found in the St. John River.

These incidents serve as a sharp reminder as the anniversary of Price's death nears, Dorcas said.

"It's always there in the back of my mind," she said. "I just feel bad for their families."

'A vehicle's a weapon'

Dorcas said she thinks drinking and driving is a huge issue across New Brunswick — something that has become normal among residents, especially for repeat offenders. She said she constantly hears stories of people in her hometown of Stanley, N.B., that are drinking and driving, as well as those in other rural communities.

"Why are these people getting a licence back?" If I was walking down King Street with a gun with one bullet in it like Russian roulette and it didn't kill anybody, would I be allowed to have a gun again? No," she said.

"A vehicle's a weapon."

Dorcas said she hopes sharing her story will at least prevent one person from getting behind the wheel while drunk.

"People don't think it'll happen to them."

Source: CBC News


Last updated on: 2017-01-16 | Link to this post