Rob Arsenault places a memorial cross in the ground near where his son and two friends were killed by an alleged drunk driver

Two years may have passed, but the pain of losing a loved one never does.

Sheri Arsenault and her family know this well. November 26 marked the two year anniversary of her son Bradley’s death. 

Bradley was killed by an alleged drunk driver on Nov. 26, 2011, along with his two friends Kole Novak and Thaddeus Lake. Brad and Novak, both from Beaumont, were 18 at the time, while their friend Lake, from Leduc, was 22. 

The Arsenault family and friends and supporters have put up a white cross at the collision site on Highway 625, and held a candlelight vigil on Nov. 24. 

“The truth is, and I’m sure I can speak for anyone who’s lost a loved one, two years is really no different than any other day,” Arsenault said.

“It’s still very raw  ... For myself, and probably speaking for others, we’ve learned how to mask our tears a little bit.”  

Arsenault did not attend the vigil on Sunday herself because it’s too painful for her to visit the collision site. 

But she’s glad it’s there, because she’s hoping it will remind others of how a life was lost so needlessly. 

“For some of the young people in Beaumont, I hope one day they take their families there to that site and explain to their children what happened to my son and his two friends in literally less than a second,” she said. 

“Even if one life is saved because that marker is there, then that’s a powerful legacy that Bradley, his family and the Town of Beaumont have left behind,” she added. 

She acknowledged that some people see highway markers as an eyesore or driving distraction.

But to Arsenault, the fact that they’re becoming more common is in itself a problem.

“A lot of people debate whether crosses should be put up ... But I think people should be asking themselves, why are there so many crosses up along our roads?”

Arsenault knows she’ll never get her son back, but has been working to raise awareness of how many lives are affected by impaired driving causing death, and also to ensure harsher penalties for those who are convicted of the crime.  

Working with organization Families for Justice, Arsenault and others have gathered 50,000 signatures in support of mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of causing death due to impaired driving. 

She met with federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay as part of a working-group meeting and is slated to meet him again in early 2014.

She says in the research she’s done, impaired driving continues to be the leading cause of death in car collisions, but the sentences do not match the crime.

At the same time, Beaumont detachment commander Sgt. Kevin Kunetzki said impaired driving continues to be a significant issue not just in Beaumont, but nationwide.

“Nothing has really changed in more than 35 years,” Arsenault said. 

“So it’s time we do something.”

Source: Beaumont News


Last updated on: 2013-12-01 | Link to this post