Pair of deadly crashes possibly linked to alcohol has police officer fuming
'Constant silly and criminal decisions' by people who drink and drive frustrating for police
A Calgary police officer is furious with the despair, panic and sorrow caused when drivers get behind the wheel after drinking, as police deal with a pair of fatal collisions in less than a week that are believed to involve alcohol.
One person was killed and several of his family members were seriously injured in the crash at Country Hills Boulevard and Metis Trail northeast early Sunday morning.
A Dodge Journey blew through a red light and hit a Kia Forte. A 19-year-old man, who was the front passenger of the Kia, was pronounced dead at the scene, while his father, who was behind the wheel, and his mother and sister were left in serious condition, police said.
The driver of the Dodge, a 28-year-old woman, was arrested and later released.
Last week, a 17-year-old girl was killed in a rollover crash on McKnight Boulevard. Her father, who was driving, and her best friend, both remain in hospital and it is not known if they will survive.
Police believe speed and alcohol were involved in that crash, too.
Staff Sgt. Paul Stacey of the traffic section says impaired driving cases destroy families and are infuriating for officers.
"Our officers and first responders, they're people too, and they are left feeling frustrated by the constant silly and criminal decisions that people make with drinking and driving," he said.
"And the family members that are left behind are also left to pick up the pieces. And we deal with those folks, and we see their despair, and their panic and their sorrow. And that really wears on our officers."
Stacey says despite the recent rash of incidents, Calgarians do seem to be getting the message that drinking and driving is illegal.
"We are seeing that people are getting it more than they ever have before. But for those ones that don't, we've seen a couple of extremely ugly, tragic reminders of what happens when you do drink and drive," he said.
Denise Dubyk of MADD Canada says her two young grandsons grew up without a father because of a drunk driver.
"It's like a glass window breaking, everything shatters, your life is not the same after that first millisecond that you open the door to a police officer," says Dubyk, who lost her son-in-law in May 2000.
She says people should report impaired drivers to 911, and leave their keys at home if they plan to drink, otherwise the consequences could be unspeakable.
"It needs to stop and we are all a part of the solution."
- MORE CALGARY NEWS | $1.8M to be doled out to victims of investment scam
- MORE CALGARY NEWS | Calgary flu clinics see lineups as free vaccine program kicks off
With files from the CBC's Dan McGarvey