A cross now marks the spot where three young Alberta men were killed in a horrific crash with an alleged drunk driver two years ago.

Family, friends and neighbours of Bradley Arsenault, Kole Novak and Thaddeus Lake gathered Sunday afternoon at the collision site on Highway 625 south of Edmonton to place a cross and hold a candlelight vigil.

The gathering was organized by Bradley’s mother, Sheri Arsenault, to mark the two-year anniversary of her son’s death.

“It’s a place I’ll never go, because it’s so horrific what happened,” Sheri said.

“But the town of Beaumont, who supported us so much, and our family and friends and neighbours in this area, we wanted to put a marker out for them.”

Brad, Kole and Thaddeus were in a Pontiac Grand Am that collided with a Dodge Ram around 2:45 a.m. on Nov. 26, 2011. Brad and Kole, both 18 at the time, were Beaumont residents and Thaddeus, 22, was a friend who lived in Leduc.

Johnathan Pratt, the driver of the Ram, was hospitalized and later charged with three counts of manslaughter and drunk driving causing death.

“Every day is a struggle, I will admit,” Sheri said.

“It’s very, very difficult. To tell you the truth, there’s no words that can describe what it’s like to lose a child so senselessly.”

Sheri is trying to move forward in her life by advocating for stiffer drunk driving penalties in Canada, including mandatory minimum sentences for drunk drivers who cause fatalities. Working with Families for Justice, she has helped gather 50,000 signatures on a petition that was presented to the House of Commons.

Pratt has not entered a plea and is scheduled to begin trial April 28, 2014, a wait that Sheri has found painful and frustrating.

“Bail is set so low for offenders of this crime that they can waste two to five years. If bail wasn’t $1,000 to $3,000 — in the States it would be $50,000 —things would have been brought to justice a lot earlier,” she said. “That’s very much a hardship on the families, the fact that we wait two-and-a-half to three years (and) he doesn’t have to plead guilty or not guilty.”

Sheri said Families for Justice has a meeting scheduled with federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay in 2014.

She believes harsher penalties would deter others

Source: The Edmonton Sun

Last updated on: 2013-11-25 | Link to this post