Alcohol banned in First Nation where 3 boys killed by allegedly impaired driver
27-year-old accused in crash has previous conviction for impaired driving
A northern Manitoba First Nation has banned alcohol, days after three children died when they were hit by an allegedly drunk driver.
Chief and council of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation in Nelson House, Man., made the ban effective Tuesday.
A public announcement from leadership said the ban is out of respect for the three boys who died.
"During this time, there will be no public intoxication tolerated," the announcement reads.
The community's safety officers will enforce the ban with checkstops and will seize all alcohol for destruction, the public announcement said.
Keethan Lobster, 11, Mattheo Moore-Spence, 11, and Terrence Spence, 13, were walking and riding their bikes with friends along a main road in the community, about 660 kilometres north of Winnipeg, when they were hit and killed by a driver who was allegedly impaired.
Nisichawayasihk Chief Marcel Moody said the ban is temporary and was requested by leaders at a meeting on Sunday.
"Out of respect for the families, we want to create some peace and harmony in our community and we don't want alcohol to take away from what's happening in the community," he said.
Community leadership will also look at ways to increase awareness about the dangers of impaired driving, Moody said.
"Hopefully we learn from this lesson, and I hope it never happens again, to anybody," he said. "It's so devastating and this accident could have been prevented."
Previous conviction for impaired driving
Todd Norman Linklater, who is is also a resident of the small community, is facing a total of nine charges in connection with the crash, including three counts of impaired driving causing death.
Linklater, 27, was previously convicted for impaired driving in January 2009, according to records provided to CBC News by Manitoba Justice.
Linklater was scheduled to appear in court in Thompson on Monday, said RCMP. None of the new charges have been proven in court.
His mother, Valdine Linklater, told The Canadian Press her heart and soul are broken.
"[I am] still in disbelief," she said via Facebook Messenger.
As a single mother, she said it was always her and her boys "all the way." Now she is relying on her faith to help her and the community get through "the hardest thing ever."
Moody told The Canadian Press Todd Linklater is well-known and liked in the community. He plays a lot of sports and has a young family.
The families of the young boys have reached out to the Linklater family, Moody added, because they believe it is important to forgive to move forward.
"Part of our healing process is just to forgive people, forgive each other. That's been our tradition, our custom," he said.
"It's a difficult step in the whole healing process, but that's what the families want to do."
The ban announced Tuesday follows a vigil Monday night, which saw hundreds gather at the site of the crash in honour of the boys. Some travelled from surrounding communities like Thompson, The Pas and Cross Lake to show support.
With files from The Canadian Press