Anniversary of crash that killed three young men marked in Beaumont
A candlelight memorial walk was held in the community of Beaumont Sunday night, to remember three young men killed by a suspected impaired driver one year ago.
The crash happened on November 26, 2011. It’s a day Sheri Arsenault remembers clearly.
“Some days I can’t believe it’s been a year because it seems like just yesterday,” Arsenault said.
“A year certainly for me doesn’t make it any of it go away.”
Her son, 18-year-old Brad Arsenault, and his two friends Kole Novak, 18, and Thaddeus Lake, 22, were killed in a collision involving an alleged drunk driver.
Arsenault has spent the last few days preparing candles for a memorial walk in memory of her son.
“We thought it would be something nice to do because we know how hard it’s been on the whole town and all the youth,” Arsenault said.
“It was a very tragic day for the little town of Beaumont.”
Johnathan Robert Pratt, 28, is facing manslaughter and impaired driving charges causing death in connection to the crash. The families involved have been in and out of court.
“We do not know more today than we knew a year ago, absolutely nothing more on how this is all going to end,” Arsenault said.
It’s a process that’s taken too long – according to the Arsenaults, who are calling for changes to federal drinking and driving laws.
“We’re just advocating the politicians for stricter sentencing for minimums to be put in place. If you were to be caught at a checkstop, there’s a minimum, but there’s no minimum for someone who causes fatalities,” Arsenault said.
“It’s so out of balance for the crime to the sentence.”
She met with MP Mike Lake earlier this month, in the hopes that he will join the push for harsher penalties, including minimum sentencing, for cases of impaired driving causing death.
“He totally agrees that it is very unbalanced, that the sentence does not fit the crime and he’s going to help us with getting letters written to the justice minister,” Arsenault said. “He encourages us to keep talking to more politicians to get more people on board.”
Lake had told CTV News he would take Arsenault’s concerns and share it with the federal justice minister.
“A big part of that process to listen to families like this who have gone through these very difficult circumstances and hear what they think needs to be changed,” Lake said on Nov. 14.
Along with stricter penalties, Arsenault says it’s time people took responsibility for their actions.
“People need to start owning up to the mistake and plead properly,” Arsenault said.
“All of us have the right to get home safely. Me, you, every single one of us, and the drunk people who are still driving who think they’re okay are taking that right away from us.”
With files from Amanda Anderson