Jul 14, 2013 - FAMILIES FOR JUSTICE READY TO MEET MINISTER

A new day brings more heartache for Sheri Arsenault.

Ever since her 18-year-old son Bradley and his friends, Kole Novak and Thaddeus Lake were killed by an alleged drunk driver in November 2011, a gaping hole has been left in her life and heart. He's the first thing on her mind when she wakes up in the morning and her last thought before she goes to bed.

But six months following her son's untimely death, Sheri found a cause with Families for Justice -- a group of parents, siblings and loved ones of those killed by an impaired or aggressive driver.

The group has been pushing for a five-year minimum sentencing for those convicted of drunk driving causing death and will be meeting with federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson in Vancouver to discuss this on Monday afternoon.

It's a meeting that's been nearly two years in the making and Sheri is among the three members who will be there.

"The legacy we want our children to leave behind is that as their moms and dads, we tried, we tried to do something," said Sheri, adding the group has close to 35,000 signatures on their petition and a few MPs on board.

"We believe in rehabilitation, but we want a sentence that actually fits the crime because it's a senseless crime and it's preventable."

It was 2:45 a.m. on Nov. 26, 2011 when the car the three boys were travelling in was hit from behind by a Dodge Ram on Highway 625. They were coming from a bar in Leduc, said Sheri, and did the right thing by having a designated driver to safely drive them home.

The force of the impact left the three young men dead at the scene. Two of them had been ejected from the vehicle and the other was pulled from the wreckage.

The 28-year-old driver of the truck was taken to hospital in critical condition. He's facing a string of charges including three counts of drunk driving causing death and three counts of manslaughter. A five-week trial is slated for April 28, 2014 in Wetaskiwin.

"You replay it in your mind all the time. The knock on the door is that knock that nobody ever wants to get," said Sheri, who's still waiting for some kind of remorse.

"I could not see my son, I could not be with him. My son had to be identified by dental records. Just not to even be able to say good bye -- it's just an awful crime that's so preventable."

Sheri said the other families affected by the tragedy are doing the best they can despite their broken hearts.

The Novak family has since moved to Calgary and the Lake family continues to run a music foundation for disadvantaged children in the Leduc area -- a foundation initiated by Thaddeus.

Bradley would have turned 20 on Feb. 15. He was registered to go into petroleum engineering at NAIT when his life was suddenly taken. His mother can't help but think about the young man he would be today.

"He had such a sense of humour, he was a hard-working boy. You see something, you look at something, you just think what would Bradley have thought?" she said. "We're just going to keep going until somebody listens to us."

Source: Edmonton Sun


 

Last updated on: 2013-07-16 | Link to this post