Fundraiser honours 3 'amazing guys' killed in Beaumont crash

The loved ones of three men killed by an alleged drunk driver are raising funds to build a park in their memory.

The friends and families of three young men killed by an alleged drunk driver last year outside of Beaumont gathered this weekend to raise money for a landmark in their honour.

"We’re hoping to create something that’s tangible," said Zane Novak, whose son Kole was killed in the Nov. 26 crash.

Zane Novak says they're hoping to raise money to build a park in the honour of his son and two other young men killed by an alleged drunk driver in November. (CBC News)

"It gives us something to reflect on, something that’s real, and hopefully something to remind us of what great kids they were."

Kole, 18, was travelling with two friends - Bradley Arsenault, 18, and Thaddeus Lake, 22 - on Highway 625 when their car was hit by another vehicle going the same direction.

All three were killed at the scene.

"Those boys were my life," said Karmia Novak, Kole’s sister. "You feel like you were stripped of anything you ever were. You just feel like a shell that’s trying to rebuild."

The three-day fundraiser includes a BBQ, soccer tournament and marathon skateboarding session. The Novaks are hoping to raise enough donations to have the park built in honour of the three men.

"They would have been just beyond stoked. That’s why we’re doing this," said Karmia Novak.

"They would be the first people here, and they would be the first people here from open to close, tear down to setup."

Karmia says she’s hoping event will raise awareness of the consequences of drunk driving.

Current laws ‘a joke’

The 28-year-old accused of killing the three man, Jonathan Pratt is charged with three counts each of impaired driving causing death, driving with a blood-alcohol content over .08 causing death and manslaughter.

Nine months after the crash,  Pratt has yet to file a plea in the case. The families of the victims have expressed frustration with the pace of the trial.

Kole's sister, Karmia Novak, says harsher penalties are needed for drunk drivers, saying the current system is 'a joke.' (CBC News)

"[The laws] are a joke, in all honesty. They don’t get anything. They steal lives, they take them," said Karmia Novak.

The Novak family was mixed on the Alberta government’s new penalties for drivers with a blood alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.08.

Zane Novak says the new rules, which came into effect the same weekend as the fundraiser, are the wrong approach. He says instead, lawmakers should focus on harsher punishments for those drivers who blow over 0.08.

"What’s the point of trying to lower the limit if we aren’t punishing the people who are triple the limit?"

Karmia Novak shares her father’s desire for stronger sentences, but thinks punishing drivers at the lower limit could also make the province’s highways safer.

"I think the new laws are the first step to something amazing. But I think we have a long ways to go. … It needs to be swift, it needs to be severe and it needs to be certain."