Jun 23, 2010 - PAINFUL FAMILY JOURNAL FOR JUSTICE (Brad & Krista Howe's case)

Since Feb. 7, Sandra Green's life has been one of unimaginable devastation.

Her daughter and son-in-law were killed by a suspected drunk driver on that day.

But she and other family members have found the strength to attend all seven Red Deer provincial court dates – each wearing a symbolic red ribbon that is worn by surviving victims everywhere of tragic cases involving suspected drinking and driving.

On Nov. 10, another court date is set. It is a day after Green's own parents were killed in a horrific traffic accident 20 years ago.

Lawyers for both the Crown and defense have stated there will be a resolution in the case which shook the community to its core just over four months ago.

But no matter what transpires on that date, Green's quest for justice is now going way beyond the courtroom.

She wants the Canadian public to rally behind her drive to stiffen current drunk driving sentences by signing a petition. Green is aiming to collect one million signatures. Since April she has been writing letters to federal MPs, provincial MLAs and media organizations.

Her petition to the federal government is calling for a mandatory jail sentence with no chance of an early release date.

Green is also demanding incarcerated impaired drivers be ordered to undergo an intensive education process on the dangers of impaired driving and its consequences.

As well, she is petitioning the federal government that convicted drunk drivers, once released, be ordered to speak and educate high school students who are beginner drivers.

“When we drink and drive, and you are not in control of your faculties, and you endanger other people, you need to be aware there is a consequence for it, and I don't think the consequence is there in our present system. That is what I am striving to get changed,” said Green, a native of Saskatchewan who has been living with and caring for the surviving family members since the tragedy on Feb. 7.

“I didn't choose this. But it has been thrust upon me and I feel responsible in some way to be a voice and make some sense of this senseless situation,” said Green, emphasizing her mission is fuelled only for justice for her loved ones and future innocent citizens and not by any vindictive motivation. “It really is hard to believe some days. But it is what it is. They are never coming back.”

Brad, 34, and 35-year-old Krista Howe, both beloved local community-minded professional engineers, were killed at around 2 a.m. on Feb. 7 in a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of Ironstone Dr. and 30 Ave.

RCMP said a southbound GMC pick-up truck struck an eastbound Chrysler, driven by Krista with Brad in the front passenger seat. The couple was pronounced dead on scene.

The driver and lone occupant of the pick-up truck was treated and released from Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Chad Olsen, 22, of Sedalia, was charged with two counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, two counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level over .08. He was released on $2,000 bail in February.

“Anybody can get $2,000. You can put it on your VISA. What does that say about our value system?,” said Green. “Brad and Krista were not doing anything wrong. They had their seatbelts on. They were not drinking and were going through a green light.”

And while Green and surviving family members vowed from the start to never miss a court date, the accused, has elected through Section 650.01 of the Criminal Code not to make an appearance, except once in February. The law, enacted by federal Parliament in 2002, states an accused may appoint counsel to represent them for any proceeding except when evidence is being called, jurors are being selected, when a plea of guilty if made or a sentence is handed down.

“I think it is just ridiculous that he doesn't even have to show up. He never has had to face us. He or anybody in his position should have some obligation to be at least being a part of the process, to be there and hear what is going on,” said Green.

“We don't have to appear there either but we go because we want to know. We are never getting our kids back. The kids are never going to see their parents again. Our Christmas dinners are going to be missing two people. Our whole life has been shattered, and re-routed and reorganized and changed forever.”

Green's life today, along with daughter Karla, is also consumed caring for the five siblings that were left orphaned. Although the healing process has barely begun the children, ranging in ages between five to 15-years-old, are moving forward with their young lives.

“The kids are doing really well. There is a continuous thread in their lives,” said Green, adding Karla, 22 months younger than sister Krista, gave up a career and life in Vancouver to dedicate her life to raise the children. “They go to the same school, same teachers, lay their heads on the same pillow every night and the pets are around. The adjustment for them is huge but so many things in their life are the same. It is a less of an adjustment for them.”

In the meantime, Green and her family members are preparing for Nov. 10. Although they are in communication with RCMP members, they have not played any part or been advised on any issues that have been discussed behind closed doors throughout the court process.

“It is very difficult to go there, time after time after time and not find out anything. And nothing happens. We have absolutely no input. We have no say. We are just on the sidelines,” said Green, adding she can only hope for what is best for her family come Nov. 10.

“I'm hoping it won't be devastating,” said Green. “It is so unbalanced. There is no appeal for us.”

Source:  MADD Red Deer Chapter


Last updated on: 2013-01-16 | Link to this post