The ex-husband of a woman charged following a collision that killed a family of four wants to curb drunk driving.
Frank Michel and Catherine McKay divorced some 20 years ago.
“We’re not ‘friends,’ we’re ‘friendly’ as with most divorced and seperated couples,” he said in an interview with Saskatoon Afternoon host David Kirton.
McKay stands accused of drunk-driving related offenses in the deaths of the Van de Vorst family. Jordan Van de Vorst, his wife Chanda and their two kids, two-year-old Miguire and five-year-old Kamryn, were killed in a collision at Highway 11 and Wanuskewin Road on Jan. 3.
As a father and a grandfather, Michel said he can’t even begin to imagine the grief for the families of the victims. But he said the aftermath has also impacted his children because McKay is their mother. Michel said he’s seen posts to his ex-wife’s Facebook profile.
“And there’s hundreds of these testimonials that show a sympathy for the Van de Vorst family and their loss, an acceptance that Cathy needs to be held accountable for whatever decisions and choices that she made. But also how she influenced and impacted so many lives that she had touched. And that should be her legacy, and unfortunately, the legacy that will come forward will be more what we see currently,” he said.
As he’s watched his children try and come to terms with the charges against their mom, Michel said he’s felt compelled to do something.
“Seeing the emotional state that my children are in, and the things they’re going through as a result of this, I would say that this is a catalyst,” he said.
Michel said he came up with an idea that he hopes might make people think twice before getting behind the wheel drunk: a keychain containing a picture of loved ones.
“You cant reason with a person who’s going to be unreasonable. But you can, I believe, you can tap into their emotions,” he said.
Michel said he liked the idea of a keychain because a potential drunk driver would have to look at it.
“If we could put something right in your hand, that you have no choice to avoid and it simply says ‘these are the most important people in my life’,” he said.
Michel said his keychain would also contain contact information and a request for help either finding a safe ride or a place to sleep it off.
He’s made one prototype keychain. Now, he said he’s looking for help getting the idea off the ground. And he emphasized that he’s not looking for any profit.
“I see these things as being free, they should be given to somebody. I don’t want anything out of this,” he said.