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'It's so disheartening': Five names added to memorial for victims of impaired drivers at Saturday vigil


Alberta victims of impaired drivers were remembered Saturday in Spruce Grove.

A ceremony was held at the Parkland County RCMP detachment, with a candle lit for each person killed by an impaired driver.

The vigil was organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"We invite the families to come every year and just be together as a way to honour their family member, [their] loved one who was lost," said Gillian Phillips of MADD Victim Services.

Makayla Alice Poland was one of the people being remembered at the event.

The 28-year-old mother of two was killed by a drunk driver in June 2021 near Okotoks.

"She was my best friend, the mother of my grandbabies. She was beautiful inside and out," said Poland's mother Diana Derowin.

"She’s missed tremendously. Beyond words."

Since Edmonton's Curb the Danger reporting program started 16 years ago, more than 140,000 calls over suspected impaired drivers have come in and more than 22,00 impaired drivers have been charged.

So far in 2023, police have received 4,000 calls resulting in 400 impaired charges and the RCMP has removed more than 6,800 impaired and suspended drivers off Alberta roads.

"It’s staggering, it’s sickening. It’s so disheartening in a lot of ways," Phillips said.

"Whether they’re impaired by drugs or alcohol, that’s a choice they made and somebody’s innocent life was taken because of that choice," she added.

The only positive thing Phillips sees in the number of calls and arrests being made for impaired driving, is that other people are trying to help.

"People are taking action, they are looking at people on the road, they are noticing behaviours [like] swerving and they are calling that number," she added. "Please continue to do that – because it works.

The vigil ended with the unveiling of the Alberta Memorial Monument for Victims of Impaired Driving Crashes.

The monument, built in 2020, is etched with the names of people killed by impaired drivers.

This year, five names were added – including Poland's.

"To see her name engraved and just to know that there is support out there, there is love out there, it just meant a lot," Derowin said. Top Stories

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