‘I miss my soulmate’: MADD holds memorial for impaired driving victims
Published Saturday, September 10, 2016 6:55PM ADT
Dozens gathered in Dartmouth on Saturday for a sombre and emotional ceremony to remember the growing list of people who have lost their lives due to impaired driving.
The day was especially emotional for Andrea and Andrew Burnett, whose world was turned upside down on July 10, 2013.
"My husband left that morning to go to work, I was home” said Andrea Burnett. “A few hours later, an RCMP officer was at my door."
Mark Burnett never made it to work. He was killed that morning in a head-on collision with another vehicle in Lawrencetown, N.S.
“I miss my soulmate,” said Burnett. “I miss my husband."
The other driver, 20-year-old Kyla MacLellan, pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm.
She was handed a five-year sentence.
Many other families in similar situations as the Burnett’s were in attendance at Saturday’s candlelight vigil, as well.
"Our mission is to stop impaired driving and support the victims of the crime,” said Rick Allwright, treasurer of Mother Against Drunk Driving in Yarmouth. “So this monument and the ceremony in particular is to support the victims of the crime."
MADD has been holding the annual memorial of hope service since 2013.
The monument is updated every year with the names of impaired driving victims.
There are now 87 names.
"Each year, more names get added it. (It) just means we have more work to do until there’s no more names added, or until there's enough people to want to step up to change the ways the laws are," said Andrew Burnett.
Experts say impaired driving is the number one criminal cause of death in Canada, taking four lives each and every day.
The ceremony included a candle lighting, where families of victims remembered their lost loved ones.
“They get to come up, light that candle, and just stand and be in awe of that moment,” said Allwright. “It's just a comforting moment for them to be able to honour their loved one"
For the Burnett family, it's a time to reflect on a part of their life that will never be the same.
"It's just senseless,” said Andrea Burnett. “We lose four people a day (to) drunk-driving. We get injured 166 a day. There's 365 days in the year. Do the math, people. Enough's enough.”
That's the message MADD Canada is trying to spread, so no more lives are altered by tragedy.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Allan April.