Skip to main content

'It has shattered our family': Children of motorcyclists killed in crash raising money and awareness for MADD


An Edmonton family changed forever on Aug. 14.

“Our dad texted me that morning, just a normal morning,” said Breigh Cohen. “He text[ed] every morning to ask about his grandkids and see what they were doing. And I knew he’d be going for a ride later.”

Her parents, Jim and Annie Macdonald, went for a motorcycle ride every Sunday.

“They just loved going for a leisurely ride through the country just to see the scenery,” she said.

Around noon that Sunday, police say the motorcycle Cohen's parents were riding was hit head on by a vehicle.

Annie and Jim Macdonald can be seen in this undated photo. (Source: Breigh Cohen)

Cohen found out that evening her parents were killed.

“My whole world stopped,” she said.

“Saying we are devastated would be an understatement. They just lived for their families and we really – none of us know what to do without them.”

The couple leave behind three children and seven grandchildren.

Cohen said both of her parents were still working and did everything together. Her mom, Annie, was a civil servant with the Alberta government for 40 years. Her dad, Jim, worked at MacEwan University, was a long-time member of the Rotary Club and Downtown Business Association, and ran the longstanding downtown newsstand “Mike’s News.” They both were active, and liked to ski and wind surf.

(Source: Breigh Cohen)

“They weren’t just seniors riding their bikes that day," Cohen told CTV News Edmonton.

"They would ride from their house 20 kilometres across town to come see their grandchildren and we talked to them daily,” said Cohen

The driver of the car involved in the crash, Taylor Yaremchuk, wasn’t hurt. The 29-year-old was later charged with two counts of impaired driving causing death, impaired driving and possession of an illegal substance.

The charges have not been tested in court. Yaremchuk’s next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 21.

Cohen said her dad was a cautious rider.

“For this to be how they were taken, it’s even more devastating because it didn’t need to happen,” she said.

In light of the charges, Cohen and her brothers have started a GoFundMe to raise awareness and money for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

“Accidents happen but it’s not an accident to get in a vehicle when you’ve been drinking,” Cohen said.

A memorial for Jim and Annie McDonald has been set up at the crash site.

A celebration of life for Jim and Annie Macdonald will be held on Aug. 27 at 1 p.m. at MacEwan University.

Cohen said the need for a public service was clear.

“They touched more people than I even knew.”

With files from CTV Edmonton’s Jessica Robb Top Stories

Should you wait to buy or sell your home?

The Bank of Canada is expected to announce its key interest rate decision in less than two weeks. Last month, the bank lowered its key interest rate to 4.7 per cent, marking its first rate cut since March 2020.

Stay Connected