On August 1, 2009, my mother-in-law (the beautiful Donna Kennie who I lovingly called Mamma K) was gunned down. I say gunned down because it feels like she was brutally murdered by a gun-wielding psychopath. Instead, it was a seemingly harmless driver who had one too many drinks and smoked some weed. Someone who likely thought he was “fine” to drive but clearly wasn’t when he cut sharply into the other lane.
It was a gorgeous sunny day. 2:30 in the afternoon.
A witness driving behind Mamma K testified in court that when the 1-ton truck slammed into Mamma K’s 2-door sunfire nearly head on, the force of the collision propelled the truck literally 10 feet in the air as it flipped over and landed on its hood sliding into the gravel. The impact tore the driver side door off her car. It was found imbedded in the truck’s front grill.
My Mamma K was nearly ripped in two and died almost instantly. She lived long enough to turn to her right as she took her final breath and see that her 16-year-old grandson (my step-son) was alive. He watched her mutilated body fade away to the afterlife before his very eyes. Now he lives with recurring nightmares and sleepless nights.
Trent Mallet was charged with impaired driving causing death.
And he did her family the honor (being sarcastic here) of pleading not-guilty to impaired driving causing death. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the Canadian justice system and Trent’s right to plead not guilty to try and get away with it. But that choice meant that my family was dragged through 18 months and over a dozen court dates before finally seeing this guy found guilty and sentenced for his crime (3 whole years…here’s another kick in the gut, he’ll be eligible for parole after serving 1 year…yip…he could serve 1 year for murder!).
The entire court process was like having a Band-Aid slowly torn off with salt pouring directly on an open, festering wound over and over again. We were unable to get closure, heal, or move forward having the hurt and anger stirred up every few months for nearly two years.
And then there was the added emotional roller coaster of not knowing from court date to court date what was going to happen next; were we going to win, was the criminal blood in or out (deemed inadmissible by the way), medical evidence admissible (it was), was he going to get off on a technicality (thankfully by sheer luck, he did not)? I can’t even begin to put into words the emotional torture this was to my family; the not knowing if he’d ever be held accountable for his choices and actions…for her murder.
And it doesn’t end. It doesn’t stop with a final round of court dates, sentencing, his eventual release etc. It lasts forever. It will reverberate through our lives forever. It will always be there. It will always haunt us.
Drunk drivers don’t discriminate against time of day. They don’t care where they are, if the road conditions are ideal, or if anyone will get hurt. Nothing matters to them because you see…they tell themselves they are ok to drive….they think their harmless…
I think they are gun wielding psychopaths!
The devastation that impaired driving inflicts on families is undeniable and unspeakable. Worse than that, it is senseless and 100% preventable. Mamma K never had to die!
Why ever take the chance? Why drive even after a drink or two; even if you feel fine? Why take the risk? What if you inadvertently murder some innocent person(s)…just to save a few bucks on a cab? It’s not worth it! It doesn’t make sense.
Our Whole Story
If you’d like the whole story, blow-by-blow, check out my blog journal of our experience:
- The accident (and a loophole in the justice system exposed)
- The trial
- The prosecution’s blooper
- Expert testimony & medical record admissible
- The guilty verdict
- Writing a victim impact statement
- Final court date – sentencing
- Trent moves to minimum security
- The parole hearing – parole denied
- And just for shits and giggles, check out: My “chat” with the Minister of Justice
Victim Impact Statements
Want a good cry? Read our victim impact statements that we read aloud, in court:
Impaired Driving Fridays
It’s become a life passion for me to advocate against impaired driving, for tougher laws and sentences, and for better preventative methods. Every Friday I will bring you a mash-ups of latest cases, news, laws etc. My hope is to get you fired up to advocate against this 100% preventable crime. You can always get the most recent posts via my impaired driving category!