Our fourth annual Impaired Driving Awareness Week was launched
with a ceremony - low-key but very well-attended by media and members of
PAID/REID - at Edmonton City Hall on May 12.
IDAW was proclaimed on behalf of Mayor Bill Smith by Coun. Dick Mather.
Coun. Larry Langley was also in attendance. Speakers for the launch were
Eloise Leckie and Fern Jordan.
PAID/REID co-founder and current board member Gladys Armstrong presented
the Operation Lookout Alvina Mechalchuk Memorial Award, given in memory
of her daughter, to a member of the public who took action to prevent an
impaired driving tragedy.
My daughter Leanne. her friend Susan, and Susan's parents all were killed
nearly nine years ago. Gladys Armstrong, co-founder of PAID and REID, lost
her daughter Alvina sixteen years ago. Eloise Leckie's son David was killed
two years ago. Kevin, son of Joe and Markie Delany, was killed three years
ago. Len Sager was killed sixteen years ago. Tammy Hodgess was killed ten
years ago, Brooks Bunting five years ago, Chris Hoyt elevem years ago.
Cheryl Rohr was injured ten years ago, Scot Fernets was killed two years
ago. The families of these people are here today. And yesterday was Mother's
Day, so this is a tough one for many of us.
With all the public attention - thanks mostly to the media - and all
the discussions with private, corporate and government agencies - and all
the slogging hard work that has been accomplished by valiant individuals
and by PAID and REID - not ONE of us ever thought that we would have to
stand here today and say that we are tired of waiting!!
We have been patient. We have been temperate. We have been accommodating
and understanding. We have WAITED while our sensible and achievable proposals
slowly make their way through the bureaucratic offices and halls of this
Alberta government. We have believed that their public statements would
come to pass. Now - we realize that we've been gullible and we've been
We KNOW that impaired driving can't be wiped out all at once.
We KNOW that it takes one step at a time. But we're not even taking
those steps anymore.
As you can see from your list of PAID/REID objectives that HAVE been
accomplished, a great deal of action was in fact taken from 1985 until
around 1992, especially during the years when Ken Rostad and Dick Fowler
were Solicitor General and in charge of Alberta's impaired driving programs.
Social attitudes towards impaired driving have changed for a large part
of the population. But that needs continually to be addressed, as children
grow up and start to drive and start to drink. And there are so many issues
that many people still don't know about - specifically the legal, financial,
social, emotional consequences of impaired driving, consequences for victim
In the last few years, however, initiatives to prevent and reduce impaired
driving have slowed to a dead crawl. PAID/REID, in conjunction with other
well-respected stakeholders, has been proposing workable solutions for
years. The Motor Vehicle Trauma Coalition formed in 1991 and was disbanded
a year later after our proposals were ignored. The Hard-Core Drinking Driver
Committee formed in 1993 and was disbanded two years later after our proposals
were ignored. And most lately, the Enforcement Committee of the Traffic
Safety Board's Traffic Safety Initiative, was launched with fanfare by
Steve West one year ago. We and the other stakeholders have been kept quiet
by attending meetings and writing proposals for an entire year. We are
still stupidly waiting for the current minister to look at these proposals.
What IS Minister Pazkowski doing these days?
Well, on April 30, he announced that he was going to be making darned
sure that no truck wheels fly off and kill someone in his province. The
Edmonton Journal quoted him as saying: "We're quite sincere in seeing that
we're going to have safe roads. "I understand it's a very small minority
of chronic problem carriers and we've got to clean that up because it's
not right that a person drives down a road and has their life at risk even
though they've done nothing wrong." No deaths due to flying tires have
in fact occurred in Alberta. HOWEVER, every year, AT LEAST 150 deaths in
Alberta are caused by impaired drivers. Since 1982, the year PAID/REID
was formed, that adds up to 2,250 DEATHS. Add in the injuries - some of
them excruciatingly severe - and we have tens of thousands of Albertans,
from infants to seniors, DIRECTLY harmed by impaired drivers. Surely, if
Mr Pazkowski can get excited about tires, he can also arouse himself to
deal with a crime that takes place in Alberta SEVEN MILLION times each
and every year. *
(Footnote: *The chances of getting caught driving while impaired in
a jurisdiction with high rates of enforcement are one in 500. Which means,
with 14,000 people charged each year in Alberta, there are 7 million impaired
driving episodes (trips) each year in the province. Source: Traffic Safety
Board, Traffic Safety Initiative, 1996-97.)
So, what is it exactly that we want?
First, we want Immediate Administrative Licence Suspension. We've
been seeking that since 1989 - eight long years! It has been operational
in Manitoba since 1989, where it is a PROVEN deterrent to impaired drivers.
Since its introduction, there has not been one successful court challenge.
Here in Alberta? Promises and excuses. Last spring, Transportation Minister
Steve West announced that legislation for immediate suspension was forthcoming.
Last fall, Justice Minister Brian Evans said the same thing. Do we have
it? No we don't, even though the public has demonstrated overwhelming support
for the program.
Second, we want more education, enforcement and preventive strategies
specifically aimed at rural Alberta. Last spring, Dr West stated with passion
that most impaired driving fatalities occur in rural Alberta, and that
something had to be done in that area. Has anything happened there? Nope.
In fact, just weeks after that speech, Dr. West announced that people could
start carting around opened alcoholic beverage in their vehicles. Now THERE's
a mixed message.
Third, we want Checkstop and Operation Lookout to be province-wide
and high-profile. We want impaired drivers to KNOW that they're going to
get caught. We want a high-profile, exciting Designated Driver Program
in effect throughout the province - if every drinker used a designated
driver, there would be NO impaired driving at all. We want the hard-core,
impaired and high-risk driver - to be targeted, identified, apprehended
and rehabilitated. There are numerous agencies - AADAC, Driver control
Board, the AMA which administers Impact and Planning Ahead, the Department
of Corrections, John Howard Society, and so many more - all of them are
just waiting for the structure which can only be implemented by this government.
We are not asking for money. We are asking for ENERGY and POLITICAL WILL
- all of which cost nothing. We are asking for reallocation of resources.
Spend some at the front end - on prevention and education, and on the apprehension
and rehabilitation of identifiable offenders - and save A LOT at the back
end. So much less will have to be spent on prosecutors and court proceedings
and jails and hospitals and medical care and welfare for the families of
victims as well as offenders. We know HOW all these things can be logistically
accomplished and we know WHO is willing and able to do them. The support
is there - from the stakeholders who have been working for so many years
and from Albertans who want to walk, bike, boat, snowmobile, drive - and
live - in safety.
It is ludicrous that we have had to wait so long. It is inexcusable.
We want the lethargy, the foot-dragging, the cowardice, the lack of concern,
the empty promises, to CEASE. What we DON'T HAVE - is COMMITMENT, LEADERSHIP,
HONOUR, HONESTY AND POLITICAL COURAGE. And that is exactly what we want,
what we insist upon, and what we expect. The credibility of this government
with regard to action on impaired driving is close to zero. It HAS to make
a move and it has to do it now. We say to them - Implement the proposals
you asked for, keep your promises, get your act together. This is Impaired
Driving Awareness Week. Be VERY aware.
(If you feel inspired by Fern's words to write the minister and ask
him about the points she has raised, his address is: Transportation Minister
Walter Pazkowski, Alberta Legislature Bldg., 10800 97 Ave., Edmonton, T5K
Eloise Leckie's speech:
In the early morning hours of April 3rd, 1995, my husband and I were
awakened by two city police officers, who told us our only son had been
killed instantly three hours earlier.
David was 24 years old, and was returning home after co-hosting the
radio program at CJSR at the University of Alberta. The driver of the other
vehicle immediately ran from the scene, and the police were still looking
for him. They caught up with him almost six hours later, so he was never
charged with a liquor offence.
From that moment on, our lives, our daughters' lives, and that of family
and friends have been changed forever. The unbelievable reality of dealing
with the loss of our son, at the same time dealing with all the legal system,
has left us many times wondering how we would, and will, get through the
days, weeks, months and years ahead.
A month after David was killed, we put his picture on his fatality sign.
We hoped that by putting a face, a person, behind the fatality, it would
make people more aware of their driving. We had numerous people say it
made a great impact on them when they saw it. The sign was taken down though,
due to a complaint.
The combination of drinking, speed and irresponsibility behind the wheel
of a vehicle, leaves too many families left to pick up the pieces of their
shattered lives as they cope with the senseless loss of their loved ones.
The saddest part of all this is, most of these tragedies can be prevented
through responsible and aware drivers.
Len Sager Memorial Award Recipients
Once again, we had a tough time deciding on the recipients of the 1997
Len Sager Memorial Award. The recipient from northern Alberta is Rick S.
Mayuk, a graduate of Father Mercredi Catholic Community High School in
Fort McMurray. The recipient from the south is Sheila M. Burgoyne, graduate
of St. Francis High School in Calgary.
Their accomplishments in the struggle to prevent and reduce impaired
driving are impressive. We are grateful for the way they inspire and energize
others, and we congratulate them for their achievements.
The Award is given to graduating Grade 12 students in Alberta and provides
a plaque and $500.
From Jan and Ken Walker, April 7, 1997. They enclosed an article from
the Feb. 28/97 issue of the Lethbridge Herald. The article is re-printed
Please find enclosed our membership renewal and a donation toward PAID
It grieves me to have followed the case which I am enclosing for your
Even though this man (allegedly) killed a young woman while (allegedly)
impaired and stunting, he is very wealthy and could afford to hire the
best criminal lawyer as well as an expert accident analyst. His money made
sure he got off virtually scot free in our two-tiered judicial system.
These are the types of legal decisions I hope your lobby efforts can
Best of luck.
Family decries Jetter verdict
The husband and mother of a Lethbridge woman killed in a late-night
crash lashed out Thursday at a justice system which acquitted the car's
Prosecution efforts were underpowered, said husband David Annis. And
the judge may have found the expert testimony confusing.
Annis' comments came in the wake of a Court of Queen's Bench decision
which acquitted driver Lawrence Jetter on charges of dangerous driving
causing death and causing bodily harm.
His wife, 29-year-old Yvonne Annis died after Jetter's high-performance
car left North Parkside Drive and struck a tree in July 1995.
Yvonne's mother, Bev Koch, said she was devastated by the judge's decision.
"You wait for two years for some closure, and then there isn't any,"
she said. "I feel terribly let down. Annis, who sat with Koch and her husband
Leo during the four-day trial, said the verdict was a little like the first
O.J. Simpson decision.
"The rich guys hired the big guns," he said. "They shot down the Crown's
In releasing his verdict, Justice Laurie McLean ruled in favor of an
experienced Regina car crash analyst's interpretation instead of a Lethbridge
police officer's. He threw out evidence which showed the Jetter car sped
faster than 100 kmh moments before the single-vehicle crash.
The accident reconstruction expert, hired by defence lawyer Greg Maxwell,
contradicted testimony given earlier this week by Constable Jeff Cove.
The Lethbridge officer, who recently completed his advanced training, is
the city force's only fully-qualified reconstructionist.
"The Crown (prosecutor) allowed himself to be outgunned so dramatically,"
The prosecutor and the police, he said, also failed to present any
convincing evidence based on the crash impact - so great, it tore off the
rear wheel and sent the vehicle spinning into traffic lanes on the other
side of the median.
"Why wasn't there a crash impact expert to say what the speed must
Annis - now a single father raising the couple's son Sean, now four
- said he'll have trouble explaining the court's verdict when the boy is
older. He feels he and his son have become victims along with Yvonne. "I
feel I've been assaulted three times," Annis said. "First by the driver,
and then to a lesser degree by the officers that were sent to the accident.
And now, for a third time, by the judge."
McLean set a $750 fine for an impaired driving charge laid after the
"I find it completely obscene that the price for a living person is
A second article in the same issue of the Herald, written by Dave Mabell,
concludes with the judge's statement: "On the evidence before me, there
is no reasonable suggestion that alcohol played any part in this accident."
(Editor's note: We would be interested to hear about any events following
this case: was the case appealed, were there discussions in or about the
crown prosecutors department, etc?)
From Cpl B.J. Manning, RCMP Edmonton Detachment. (Original sent to
Gloria Ohrt, Alberta Justice.)
... at the Independent Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta (IIBAA)
meeting ... I found the booklet on Shattered Lives to be particularly interesting,
especially the article relating to Leanne Schmitz. I was the investigator
for this incident and as such had to deal directly with Kevin Konkolus.
It is worth noting that occurrences such as this have not been forgotten
and that this information is being made available to the people of Alberta
through Alberta Justice.
From Brenda and Don Kotylak:
Each year we do something different for Darren's birthday and this year
we decided to enter The Great Human Race except we will be doing our running
on the beach in Hawaii and we will be thinking of you all. We will be walking
and running the full 5 mile stretch of Waiminalo Beach which is where we
are staying. I even managed to get some pledges from various parts of the
country, three different provinces, pretty good hey. Now I have to send
pictures to all of them to prove I was running.
The best of luck for a great fund-raiser.
In the News
Ontario won a reprieve for one of the toughest anti-drunk driving programs
The law allowing police to immediately suspend drivers licences for
90 days was declared unconstitutional Aug. 5.
But a judge gave the province a stay Aug. 15 until an Ontario Court
of Appeal decides the matter. Meanwhile, the province will continue to
In his decision, Appeal Court Justice George Finlayson focused on public
interest and indications that suspensions help reduce drunk driving.
"There are striking statistics as to the effectiveness of the program.
"It has proven to have a demonstrable positive effect."
Ontario's registrar of motor vehicles had started reinstating more
than 3,300 licences suspended less than three months ago. Now drivers won't
get them back just yet.
Last year, Ontario introduced some of Canada's toughest road safety
laws, including lifelong licence suspensions for repeat drunk drivers and
stiff new penalties for unsafe truckers and drivers who ignore school bus
Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Quebec also immediately suspend licences
before someone is convicted in court. Two provinces have survived legal
Under the program, there's been an 11% decline in drunk driving charges
and a 20% decline of drunk drivers involved in collisions, he said.
Over 14,800 suspensions have been issued since the program began in
Ronald Horsefield, 47, of Oshawa, Ont., launched a constitutional challenge
after having his licence suspended. He got it back in March.
"I hadn't been in court and no judge had demanded that my licence be
taken away," he said.
"I felt this law was the stuff of a police state and should be illegal
in this country."
His lawyer, Blaise MacLean, argued it's important that "people who
are not guilty not be punished."
MacLean said 85% of people with licence suspensions are convicted but
15% are found not guilty.
The province is "basically prepared to declare expendable the rights
of the 15% who are charged," he said. Two judges in Ontario - one in Brockville
and another in Ottawa - handed two repeat offenders unusually long sentences.
Each had killed two people.
Peter Mulder, 57, was sentenced to 81¼2 years in prison. Matthew
Brownlee, 24, was sent away for seven years.
Both men had their licences revoked for life.
"Surely these two cases are proof the courts are now viewing drunk
driving as a serious crime," said Tory Senator Marjorie LeBreton, whose
daughter Linda LeBreton-Holmes, 35, and grandson Brian, 12, were killed
in January 1996 when their car collided in Ottawa with Brownlee's.
Mulder had previously been convicted 10 times.
In January he caused a head on collision that killed Ralf Gericke and
his four-year-old son Raymond.
The Canada Safety Council estimates half of Canada's 3,300 road fatalities
in 1995 were alcohol-related. Provinces are taking action:
Ontario: Automatic 90-day licence suspension for suspected drinking
driver and lifelong suspension for repeat drunk driver.
N.S.: Drinking drivers have licences suspended immediately.
Manitoba: Automatic suspensions in effect since 1989.
Quebec: Immediate 90-day licence suspension. A breathalyser
(ie: Ignition Interlock) on the steering wheel of repeat drunk drivers.
B.C.: One-year licence suspension for first impaired offence,
three-year suspension for second and indefinite term for third.
Alberta: Anti-drunk driving groups
calling for automatic licence suspension and laws enabling police to confiscate
vehicles of repeat offenders.
On Aug. 20, the B.C. government announced its latest weapon in the crackdown
on bad driving - lifetime bans for repeat impaired or dangerous drivers.
Transportation and Highways Minister Lois Boone said about 37,000 B.C.
drivers with previous impaired- or dangerous-driving convictions have been
sent letters advising them their next offence will lead to three-year or
It's part of a package of rule changes revealed in June to cut accident
costs after the government rejected no-fault auto insurance.
Under Section 232 of the Motor Vehicle Act, someone with one vehicle-related
Criminal Code conviction in the last five years will receive a three-year
licence suspension if convicted of another driving offence on or after
Anyone with two convictions in the last five years faces a lifetime
ban if convicted of a third offence. The measures are intended to take
the worst drivers off the road and make others think about their behavior
behind the wheel.
Some examples of recent impaired driving sentences:
July 18, 1997: Peter Mulder, 57, chronic drunk driver, sentenced
to 81¼2 years in Brockville, Ont. Licence revoked for life. Killed
man and four-year-old son.
July 18, 1997: Matthew Brownlee, 24, sentenced in Ottawa to 7
years. Loses licence for life. Killed woman and 12-year-old son.
May 17, 1997: A 61¼2 year sentence given in Calgary as
"a deterrent." Jason Todd Purdy, 23, prohibited from driving for 12 years.
Three killed. Had recently got licence back after previous impaired driving
May 12, 1997: Jim Wallace of Gibsons, B.C., loses appeal of six-year
sentence. Wallace killed one and injured three others. Third drunk-driving
April 18, 1997: Jean Lafortune, 32, sentenced to five years.
Killed Ottawa woman. Third impaired driving conviction.
Jan. 31, 1997: John Henry Howes, 49, sentenced to seven years
in Brampton, Ont., banned from driving for life. Used licence with fake
name. Two previous drunk-driving convictions. Off-duty police officer killed.
o o o
According to Statistics Canada the typical Canadian facing charges in
provincial criminal courts is a male, aged 25 to 34, accused of impaired
driving or common assault.
That profile emerged from a report on adult court data from the 1995-96
Courts in seven provinces and two territories handled 435,500 cases
during the year, with impaired driving accounting for 15% of the total,
12% for common assault and 11% for theft.
The figures are believed to represent 80% of criminal court cases in
Canada. Provinces excluded are British Columbia, Manitoba and New Brunswick.
The federal agency said two-thirds of the cases heard led to a finding
of guilt on at least one charge. Highest conviction rates were in cases
of impaired driving, where 79% were found guilty, morals-sexual offences
with 76% and drug possession at 75%.
Disturbing trauma centre study
Studies done at trauma centre and emergency rooms in a number of states
in recent years show that injured alcohol-impaired drivers are likely to
avoid a drunken driving ticket or arrest.
- A 1990 study at two Chicago-area trauma centres tracked 139 drivers
admitted to the centers who were legally drunk and 67 more who tested positive
for drugs. Just 34, or 17%, were charged with driving under the influence.
- A 1991 study at a New Jersey trauma centre traced 78 injured-driver
patients with blood alcohol levels greater than the legal limit. Eleven,
or 14%, were convicted of driving while intoxicated.
- In a 1990-91 study of 187 injured drunken drivers brought to a North
Carolina trauma center, 53 (28%) were charged with DWI; 32 (17%) were convicted.
- Four doctors who studied the records of drunken drivers admitted to
a Michigan trauma center between 1988 and 1990 concluded that "injury and
hospitalization for drunk drivers following motor vehicle crashes afford
protection from prosecution." They reported their results at a recent meeting
of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine.
And today? "It's a problem that still exists at the national level
in huge numbers," said Dan Gilbert, a law lecturer at the Northwestern
University Traffic Institute. "It's very widespread."
Profile of a repeat offender
An article in USA Today in May said most repeat offenders are beer-drinking
They routinely drink to get drunk and spend an average of $16 US a
day on alcohol. All drink at least weekly and nearly half drink almost
Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and others
show repeat drunken-driving offenders cut across social lines, but tend
to fall into certain categories.
Overwhelmingly, they're men between 25 and 45 years old, but the number
of female offenders is growing. Most have high school educations or less,
hold blue-collar jobs and are single.
They prefer beer over other alcoholic drinks and usually consume it
at home. They typically drive intoxicated four times a week or 200 times
They may have driven drunk up to 1,000 times before they ever see the
flashing police lights in their rearview mirrors.
Their blood-alcohol levels are often two or three times the levels
at which states declare drivers legally drunk.
Blood-alcohol standards vary from state to state, but usually are 0.08
or 0.10. A level of 0.10 is about what a 160-pound man would register after
five drinks in an hour on an empty stomach.
A chronic drunken driver, the National Commission Against Drunk Driving
says, is someone who frequently drives with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15
About two-thirds of repeat offenders think drinking drivers are not
alcoholics or problem drinkers. But a third think sanctions against drinking
drivers should be more severe.
Central Peace High School SADD:
From their report: On March 20 approximately 65 students went to the
CYAID (Canadian Youth Against Impaired Driving) conference.
Over 600 students from across the country came together to fight one
cause - Drinking and Driving. The conference was to enrich teens on the
problems of drinking and driving in each and everyone's community. The
conference started off with a welcoming from "The Posse", the student leaders
of the conference.
A pajama party was under way the first night to greet 'n' meet people
from around the country. The first and second days were full of entertainment
and pizzazz from the information sessions of numerous motivational and
The last night was wrapped up with an infinite party where last goodbyes
were said and addresses were exchanged.
Everyone left for home the next morning with enthusiasm and sleep deprivation.
The students who went to the conference wish to thank the support of teachers
and volunteers who made this trip possible.
Inspiration and ideas and energy infused them all, and so they carried
on. In May they held a SADD week which included student assemblies, contests,
and relay races - one activity each day.
May was also graduation month, an important month for raising awareness
about impaired driving at indoor and outdoor parties. A school counsellor
offered Alberta Best Training to all SADD members, to help them to deal
with the public at Coatchecks, Checkstops, etc. A Park Ranger also volunteered
to give a presentation.
Nicole Bergot of the Grande Prairie Herald Tribune reported on the trip:
Inspiration to defeat the number one killer of teens.
That's what Grade 10 Central Peace High School student Tamara Dion
knows others will bring away from the upcoming Students Against Drunk Driving
national leadership conference in Kamloops.
"It just really showed how to be more independent and not to follow
the crowd," said Dion of last year's event in Saskatoon. "And to be your
Dion was one of a total of five Spirit River SADD students so pumped
up in the van on the way home from the 1996 event that they took it upon
themselves to ensure more area teens attend this year's conference in March.
"The drama is incredible; the energy of 1,500 kids with all one goal
and motivation is incredible," said Central Peace high school staff advisor
Debbie Mastervick who also attended last year's conference. "They raised
the roof. It's really focused."
Because the group is actively working to promote traffic safety, the
CBC and Alberta Transportation have selected the local teens to star in
a television commercial, to be taped next week, for an annual spring traffic
A good chunk of the group's fund-raising efforts to raise $11,185 for
transportation and conference registration for 17 staff members and 17
students is complete.
A $1,000 donation from Peace Wapiti School Board kick-started the campaign.
Edmonton's People Against Impaired Driving then donated $3,424 and
on Monday, the group received another $3,000 from Mistahia Regional Health
Central Peace parent council has also donated enough to send one student
to the conference.
The Rockin' with Road Sense event will include motivational addresses
as well as musical performances and hands-on displays.
The Spirit River group's enthusiasm helped motivate students at Savanna
school to start their own chapter, but the teens would like to see clubs
launched in every other school in the district.
Drinking and driving is still a problem in her community, but Dion
said, awareness programs are helping to reduce the number of impaired drivers
getting behind the wheel.
"I think that more people are listening to us."
It is with great sadness that I write this news.
Central Peace High School SADD, and the group's desire to unite a community
in a common cause first came to my attention through the high school's
staff advisor Debbie Mastervick.
With great enthusiasm and commitment she helped her students achieve
their goal. PAID/REID was very proud to be involved in that project.
But tragedy struck this summer when Debbie's son Mark, 18, was killed
when the pickup he was riding in crashed into a slough. Three other men
also died in the crash.
Our hearts go out to Debbie and her family and friends.
Another submission from Central Peace HS describes an activity that
took place last November:
It was dark and chilly on Nov. 29, 1996, at 6 p.m. For a few moments
all you could hear was the crunching of snow while 50 members from Central
Peace High School SADD, including Mrs. Mastervick our group leader, moved
slowly down main street.
Each person held a candle, and each candle represented a life lost
in our community due to impaired driving. Main street starts at the top
of a hill, and leads downhill to where the Christmas tree lightup is held.
Things like marching down the street with candles is something you can
do to make the public notice your group, thus dubbed "piggy-backing".
When there are local events that you know everybody will be at, use
them. Seize the moment.
You don't get noticed by sitting around at your school. You get noticed
by standing up and going to your community and the public, and using something
that will go deep and go hard.
When something gets through to the community, it gets through to the
media. When you have got through to the media through the public, you have
scored a home run.
Our determination got us to the front page of our local newspaper The
Signal. We used this method with our community and they realized that we
were trying to hit home and tell them the effects of drunk driving. Our
group was also chosen by CBC to be in their Think and Drive commercials.
Looks like we got a double play!
During the week of May 26-31, 1997 the SADD organized a week full of
On Monday the students held a "Helping Hands Day". Students came in
at noon, put their painted hand print with their name on a banner in support
Tuesday, 16 students were made up as accident victims to signify that
every twenty-one minutes in North America someone is killed due to a drinking
and driving crash.
Poems were read throughout the day to create an awareness throughout
the school. Wednesday the student body was enlightened by a "Motivational
Media" presentation centred around students making choices; good responsible
choices with their lives.
We were pleased to have Elmer Elson grade 6 students, Blue Ridge grade
6 students and Sangudo SADD Chapter join us for this dynamic presentation.
Wednesday after school the SADD students held a fun games hour, followed
by a pizza party at the school to celebrate their Five Year Anniversary
as a SADD chapter.
Thursday the festivities continued with a hot dog and mocktail sale
at lunch time.
Friday the students ran an air band contest at noon in the gym.
Various individuals came out and showed their talent to all the onlookers.
Friday afternoon a school assembly was held to honor the SADD students.
In April of 1997 Sgt Cliff Walde of the Mayerthorpe RCMP submitted
a nomination on behalf of the Mayerthorpe SADD Chapter for their accomplishments
and hard work in the community in the fight against drinking and driving.
On April 21, 1997 we were notified that our SADD chapter was one of
the recipients of the 1997 Alberta Justice Crime Prevention Award.
this award is presented annually to seven individuals and three groups
for extraordinary contributions to the field of community safety and crime
prevention in Alberta.
On May 10, Merina Soroka, President of SADD, attended the ceremony
in Calgary to accept the award on behalf of our chapter.
Corporal Connell, of the Mayerthorpe RCMP, presented the award to the
SADD chapter in the school. Following his presentation, the Hon. Peter
Trynchy congratulated us and handed out certificates to each of us for
our hard work and accomplishments.
To end SADD week, on Saturday the students provided mocktails at the
1997 Graduation Ceremony.
NEWS FROM SCHOOLS
LORNE JENKIN HIGH SCHOOL, Barrhead
On May 15, 1997, the 1997 Grad Council hosted a school assembly to remind
their classmates of the very serious consequences of Drinking and Driving.
The event was a candlelight memorial for all the students who have
met tragic deaths in accidents that were alcohol related. Grad council
or family members gave a brief tribute to those students being remembered
along with information about the tragedy that had occurred. These heart
wrenching facts and a symbolic empty coffin helped the students consider
the consequences of the WRONG choice - to drink and drive. All the students
wore a black ribbon to symbolize the issue and each student held a lit
candle during a minute of silence. The students all received a copy of
the poem, "Death of an Innocent" found in the March 1997 PAID newsletter
and the poem "Just a Case" (see below) written by Myrtle Wegner, the Grad
Council Staff Advisor.
Congratulations go out to the 1997 Lorne Jenkin High School Grad Council
and their staff advisors for their efforts to promote such a worthwhile
Support was also provided by the RCMP, AADAC Community Initiatives,
Rose Garden Chapel, parents of the victims and some of the local members
(Submitted by Martha Winchell, PAID member)
Just a Case
It was just a beer, what was the big deal,
It's just another beer, "good" is how I wanted to feel.
So I had my third, the party was rocking now,
I had another, my life was great, the girls looked WOW.
I needed the fifth, just so I could coast,
And if I played my cards right, on Monday I could boast.
Well down went number six, the world looked so bright,
I knew that I could handle the beer, so it was all right.
The party was getting dull, it was only half past nine,
Heck I was was out of beer, but feeling, oh so fine.
Mary Anne was leaving, she had to be home by ten,
"Come on," I said, "I always take care of a friend".
I don't remember much, after turning on the car,
I just can't see why we didn't get very far.
The lights were blinding, the voice so cold,
The policeman was crying, as I was being told,
"How could you drink and care so little about life?"
"You not only killed your friend, you killed my baby and my wife."
I try to sleep, the cell is cold, my dreams are all the same,
I'm walking in a cloud, and Mary Anne is calling my name.
She tells me to get on with life, and it is such a shame,
That "just a case of beer" has brought me this kind of fame.
I wish I could go back, but there is no way, no how,
To ease the pain and suffering, that I must live with now.
Mrs. M. Wegner
CHRIST THE KING JR/SR HIGH SCHOOL, LEDUC
Someone from this school also sent in a poem, and they have dedicated
it to the memory of Danielle and Dawn Hughes and Ricky Scott.
Did you think it couldn't happen?
Did you think it wasn't real?
You thought of only fun and games
as you got behind the wheel.
You knew it was stupid,
you didn't stop to think.
You got into the car that night;
you'd had too much to drink.
You didn't even see the tree;
you were going much too fast.
You drew in a sharp breath,
a breath that was your last.
Three precious lives were lost that night.
You weren't the first to die.
We think about you lovingly
as each day passes by.
This poem is a warning
to each and every one.
The results of drunken driving
can never be undone.
Talks and presentations
Here's a few highlights:
- Fern Jordan gave two presentations at Blueberry Community School near
Stony Plain, in May, at their annual Community Awareness Day.
- Markie Delany and Jean Meger did a joint presentation - all day -
with EPS Const. Greg Novak at Harry Ainley High School.
- Eloise Leckie spoke at a Kiwanis Club luncheon.
- Donna C. and Const. Greg Novak spoke at St. Joseph Catholic high
The City of Edmonton has kept our Operation Lookout signs up for quite
a while this time around. I think that's truly great and I hope you've
noticed them around town. Operation Lookout continues to average about
550 calls per month to 911 to report an impaired driver, with an average
of 45 people charged each month.
If you see an impaired driver in Edmonton call 911 and:
1. State you are following or have seen an impaired driver.
2. State your location.
3. Suspect vehicle description: Licence number, color, make and model.
4. Direction of travel.
5. Description of driver.
Armed with hundreds of Think and Drive bags, PAID brochures and Transportation
and Utilities brochures, our merry band of volunteers, led by Donna's favorite
cousin, Barb Weir (far right) and her trusty sidekick, Kris Pennycook (in
the PAID sweatshirt), got rid of all the goodies at a Trappers game on
June 27. Const. Greg Novak brought the Checkstop van to the park for that
extra message. We handed everything out and then, courtesy of the Trappers
ball club, all our volunteers watched the game, following which we were
entertained by the Turtles, a musical group Donna's cousin remembers. It
was a lot of fun for everyone.
Friday, May 30 and Saturday, May 31, the RCMP held a giant 24-hour Checkstop
and invited PAID/REID and some SADD groups to participate. About eight
of our volunteers worked the Checkstop for about six hours. We had a great
experience and were treated very well by the RCMP officers we worked with.
June 14 and 15 in Edmonton: PAID had a booth at the Family Festival
held at West Edmonton Mall.
If, in the future, you would like to come out to some of the events
mentioned in the newsletter, please call the PAID/REID office and let us
know you're interested.
There are a lot of positive experiences to be had when you come out