Family photo of Colton Keeler, who was killed near Red Deer in March by an alleged drunk driver.

His father Darren is organizing a rally in Red Deer on June 8 to push for mandatory minimum sentences for impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes.

Drunk drivers who kill people in crashes should face a minimum of five to 10 years in jail, says a father whose son was killed by an alleged impaired driver.

“We want to draw attention to drinking and driving and the lax sentences for impaired driving causing death,” said Darren Keeler, whose 19-year-old Colton was killed, along with friend Tyson Vanderzwaag, 18, when they were hit by an alleged drunk driver on March 31.

“Especially around the Red Deer area, we’ve had some horrendous crashes over the last few years and we’ve seen people absolutely walk.

“It’s at the point where we have to do something, I just can’t sit with my hands tied.

“It may be too late for me to do anything with regard to my son’s case but I have to help people who are unfortunately going to follow on this road.”

Darren is organizing a rally on June 8 at Red Deer City Hall Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., to call for mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of impaired driving causing death.

“The current laws as they are, the punishments are absolutely too lax,” he said.

“It’s a maximum of life in prison but nobody ever gets anywhere near that.

“Any time there’s criminal negligence involving a loss of life, the sentence should reflect that.”

The rally will coincide with a court appearance of April Gail Beauclair, who is charged with impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm in the crash that killed Darren’s son.

More than 350 people have joined the cause on social media sites, but Darren said they’re hoping to see many more at the rally.

“We’re shooting for 1,000,” he said.

Colton was with four friends driving home to Red Deer from a party at Sylvan Lake just before 3:30 a.m. on March 31 when their car broke down.

“They had a designated driver,” said Darren.

“They were the ones doing it right — they wouldn’t go to parties unless they had a safe way of getting home.”

The group was trying to jump-start their car, with Colton and Vanderzwaag outside pushing while the other friends remained inside the vehicle.

Another car — which police said was been going highway speed — hit them from behind.

Colton was killed instantly, said Darren, while Vanderzwaag died days later in hospital.

“My son was hit and thrown over the vehicle,” he said.

“His friend was pinned between the vehicles.

“He’d lost one limb and the other one was crushed and he had chest and head injuries.”

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Source: Calgary Sun

Last updated on: 2012-07-18 | Link to this post