By Tyler Marr, paNOW
A heartbreaking decision for the family of a little girl has once again highlighted the devastating consequences of drunk driving.
Family of four-year-old Aurora Sky Brandi Ledoux chose to take her off life support late Tuesday night in Prince Albert’s Victoria Hospital.
Aurora’s mother died as the result of a drunk driver in June 2013 in Prince Albert.
Jeremiah Jobb was going three times the speed limit and had a blood-alcohol level two-and-a-half times the legal limit when he struck the vehicle of Taylor Litwin, 21, and Brandi Lepine, 17.
Litwin died on scene while Lepine, who was pregnant at the time, died shortly after giving birth to Aurora via emergency C-section. Aurora was then placed in the care of Josephine (Jose) Ledoux, Lepine’s mother.
Jobb was sentenced in 2015 to four years in a federal prison.
Aurora has spent her entire life in and out of hospital. She was born extremely premature at 26 weeks, weighing only 2.2 pounds. She suffered brain damage and has required assistance to breathe and eat, along with a host of medications to help control seizures and other complications.
Denise Hodgman, a close family friend, said Aurora’s story shows the long-term impact drinking and driving has on families.
“The consequences go on and on and on,” she said. “For Josie and Leo, they have been amazing in how day and night they are just there for Aurora, constantly taking care of her needs. Now that she is passing, what a huge void that is going to leave in their lives.”
Hodgman said Josephine showed stunning strength in caring for her grand-daughter over the past four years. She said the consequences of the incident “are so strong that it makes forgiveness all the more challenging,” yet, she said Josephine lived through it all “with a lot of grace.”
Josephine has previously said she forgave Jobb, as it would be something her daughter would have wanted.
Michelle Desbiens became a close friend of Josephine’s after the incident and was often by her side for both hospital appointments and comfort since 2013.
“It’s hard,” Desbiens said of the day while holding back tears. “[Aurora] is a fighter and has come a long way.”
Both Desbiens and Hodgman recalled fond memories of their time with Aurora, particularly her smile.
Lepine’s cousin Sara Mirasty said it brought her pain to see people make light of impaired driving online.
“People think it is a joke, but it is not a joke and this is what happens,” Mirasty said. “We thought we would have more than four years with her….It is hard for our family … but we are grateful that we had four long years.”
Cheyenne Simaganis echoed her cousin’s comments. She said Jobb took her best friend away in “just a few seconds” all because of “one stupid decision.”
“Aurora could have been a healthy little baby running around just like my nieces here,” she said, pointing to two children playing in the Ronald McDonald House at the Victoria Hospital. “But she still gave us four years of happiness and joy.”
Aurora’s pediatrician Dr. Ayaz Ramji described Josephine’s past four years as “a long tragic marathon.” He said her family had showered her with unfathomable love and care.
“I would never have imagined I would be dealing with her four years later, but to counterbalance that straight away, the major tragedy is that I am still dealing with an innocent baby that hasn’t developed and hasn’t had a quality of life, in the physical sense,” he said.
“You wish that anyone who potentially drinks [and drives] could spend a day or hour with Aurora to see the impact of a life of a childhood wasted.”