Sudbury

Twenty years after Adam's Ranger's death, family still fighting dangerous drivers

Even after twenty years, Pierre Ranger still gets emotional talking about his little brother Adam who was killed when getting off a school bus in front of his home in Mattawa.

5-year-old Adam Ranger was killed by a truck that ignored a school bus' flashing lights

Pierre has bumper stickers saying 'Let's Remember Adam' across his truck. 'I even have one mounted on the inside of my front windshield. So basically Adam rides shotgun with me all the time'. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

Even after twenty years, Pierre Ranger still gets emotional talking about his little brother Adam who was killed when getting off a school bus in front of his home in Mattawa.

"It was basically your worst nightmare as you watch it," Ranger said.

Adam, who was five years old when he was killed, walked off the bus with his older brother Alex to get home.

Despite the lights flashing on the school bus, and the stop arm extended, an approaching truck pulling a trailer didn't stop.  

At the last moment the truck swerved, missing the boy, but the trailer hit Adam, killing him.

Pierre Ranger stands a few feet away from where a pickup truck's trailer hit 5-year-old Adam, killing him just steps from his home. Pierre's mother still lives in the Ranger home. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

Pierre, who was 18 at the time, was working at the local grocery store when the call came that Adam had been hit.

"It basically tore our family apart....It wasn't the way it was before...my parents separated. It just couldn't get back to the way it was before."

The driver of the truck was found guilty of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death and was sentenced to 22 months of house arrest.

After the case concluded Adam's mother, Debbie Ranger, saw a brochure by MADD Canada showing the photo of a child killed by a drunk driver and was inspired to launch a school bus safety  campaign with Adam's image.

"I wanted people to see the reality of what happens when you don't stop," said Debbie Ranger. "I wanted them to see his face not just words."

The Let's Remember Adam campaign featured signs like this one along roads. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

Police involved in the case took it upon themselves to help the Rangers with the campaign.

Twenty years later, billboards, bumper stickers and even some hockey rink boards still carry the image of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed five-year-old Adam Ranger with the slogan: "Let's Remember Adam. Stop for the school bus."

Unfortunately, Pierre Ranger, who took over the campaign from the police in 2014, says thousands of people still pass school buses illegally in Ontario every day.

His focus is now on having smart cameras installed on school buses that would photograph vehicles that pass school buses illegally, and have tickets mailed to the owners.

"Once people start getting tickets and it starts affecting them in the pocketbook then they might learn to stop," Ranger said.

School buses in Mattawa are to be equipped with the new smart camera systems this spring.

"We don't want anybody to experience this," said Ranger on losing his little brother. "I don't understand why people don't get the message."

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