Mother of Andrea Christidis calls for tougher sentences after impaired driver pleads guilty

The mother of Andrea Christidis, an 18-year-old Scarborough native who was killed by a drunk driver in London, Ont., last October, called on “our justice system to put an end to drinking and driving and the destruction, devastation and despair that it leaves behind” outside a courtroom Wednesday.

"No parent should ever have to bury their child,' Georgia Christidis says outside court

Georgia Christidis asks for harsher penalties for drunk driving after impaired driver pleads guilty in crash that killed her daughter. 0:36

The mother of Andrea Christidis, an 18-year-old Scarborough native who was killed by a drunk driver in London, Ont. last October, called on "our justice system to put an end to drinking and driving and the destruction, devastation and despair that it leaves behind" outside a courtroom Wednesday.

Earlier, Jared DeJong, 25, pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death.

Christidis died Oct. 7, three days after she was struck by a car while walking on a sidewalk on the Western University campus last October. 

​"How can you take a life because you made one bad decision?" an emotional Georgia Christidis asked. "You drank, you had fun that night and then you decided to get in a car and drive? What about the punishment for this crime? He killed my daughter. If there's a message out there with severe, high sentences maybe that will deter people."

The court heard that DeJong — a London native but not a Western student — had been drinking at the The Spoke pub on campus on the night Christidis was struck. There were three other people in the car with him at the time.

Andrea Christidis, 18, died after being struck by a vehicle at Western University on Oct. 7, 2015. The Scarborough woman began her studies in September. (Facebook)

The court also heard that the car hopped the curb, hit Christidis and propelled her 10 metres from the point of impact. 

DeJong will likely be sentenced after the court hears victim-impact statements in April.

"He wishes this never happened," defence lawyer Jim Dean said after Wednesday's hearing. "He's extremely remorseful, he feels horrible for what's happened, for what the victim's family is going through, for what happened to the victim."

Dean said DeJong could face between two to eight years in prison.

The courtroom was packed with Christidis's friends and family, including students who lived with her in residence at Western. 

Christidis's mother said the family is going have to cope with the loss for the rest of their lives.

"Why did this happen to our beautiful, intelligent and kind daughter who had so much to live for, so much love to share, and so many dreams and aspirations to fulfil?" she said.

"No parent should ever have to bury their child," Christidis said. "There is no greater pain than this. I don't know how we're going to cope with her loss for the rest of our lives or when we're going to stop asking why."

Christidis's comments echo those of Jennifer Neville-Lake, the mother of three children killed by Marco Muzzo, who was driving drunk in Vaughan, Ont., one night last fall. The children's grandfather was also killed.

"What hope is there when your entire world is gone? Every single piece of our lives has been altered because of somebody else," Neville-Lake said outside a Newmarket, Ont., courthouse on Feb. 23.

Neville-Lake, too, has called for stiffer penalties for impaired driving. 

Muzzo was driving 85 km/h in his SUV when he went through a stop sign and slammed into a minivan carrying the children. 

Muzzo has pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death.

With files from Canadian Press

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