It’s a somber anniversary for a Saskatoon family that lost four members in a drunk driving crash one year ago.
Parents Jordan and Chanda Van de Vorst and their two children — two-year-old Miguire and five-year-old Kamryn – died when an SUV trying to cross the highway from Wanuskewin Road hit their car on Jan. 3, 2016.
The next day, RCMP charged 49-year-old Catherine McKay with four counts of impaired driving causing death.
McKay pleaded guilty in June and was sentenced the next month to 10 years in prison. She’s also forbidden to drive for 12 years when she is released.
The holidays were a particularly cruel reminder of what the family lost according to Jordan’s father Louis Van de Vorst.
“You know in the back of your mind that it’s the holidays, but things just aren’t the same,” he said. “Instead of having four grandchildren, now we only have two. We used to have 14 of us around the family table; now we’ve pretty well lost a third of that.”
Now the province has introduced some of the toughest impaired driving laws in Canada.
The changes include penalties for driving at .04, zero tolerance for drivers 21 and under and three-day vehicle seizures.
As of Jan. 1, 2017 the changes are in effect and are part of the SGI monthly focus.
Van de Vorst hopes that the new laws will help people take drunk driving seriously.
“People need to consider what their actions are doing to other people, whether complete strangers or their family and the people that you love,” he said. “Think about that safe ride home before you go because you’re not immune to it. It can happen to you in an instant, at any time, any place.”