Vigil honours impaired driving victims, survivors

On a chilly October night, more than 100 people gathered for a candelight vigil on Parliament Hill to stand behind MADD Ottawa and honour victims and survivors of impaired driving collisions.

Among those taking part in the 15-minute ceremony Sunday was Mike Wass.

His wife, Jaye Peterson Wass, 29, was killed in a collision with an impaired driver in California on Oct. 22, 2010.

“It’s been emotional leading up to this weekend,” said Wass. “It’s been pretty tough.”

Jaye died at the scene, leaving behind their son, Kyler, who’s almost two.

“My son now has to grow up without having his mom,” he said.

Others, like Lino Scalise from Vancouver, luckily hasn’t lost a loved one to impaired driving.

“We were just passing by and they asked us if we’d partake,” said Scalise, who attended with his daughter Robyn.

Roughly four Canadians are killed and 190 are injured in impairment-related crashes each day on average in Canada.

“This is one event I wouldn’ want to miss because I have a personal connection to it,” said West Carleton-March Coun. Eli El-Chantiry.

His mother, he said, was killed on the road in Lebanon in 1995.

“She survived a 20-year civil war from ’75 to ’95 … only to get killed by a drunk driver.”

The annual vigil takes place each fall.

“It’s just to show our support for them,” said MADD Ottawa president Tom Wainwright.

“We’ve been doing this for about 10 years and it just seems like this is at the appropriate spot,” he said, motioning toward the Centennial Flame.


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