‘Stop it:’ Jennifer Neville-Lake says after 24 impaired drivers charged in one week
York Regional Police announced Monday that they charged 24 drivers with impaired-related offences over a week-span, sparking a frustrated reaction from a mother who lost her children and father in a 2015 drunk-driving crash.
York Regional Police shared aerial video footage of one of the 24 drivers who were taken into custody. The driver, police said, was involved a two-vehicle collision near Elgin Mills Road, west of ninth Line in Whitchurch-Stouffville around 2 a.m. on April 28.
When officers arrived at the scene of the crash, police said they found one of the vehicles in a ditch on the side of the road.
The video footage released by police shows the driver exiting the vehicle and grasping the car door. The driver appears in the video to struggle to stay upright.
At one point in the video, the driver lets go of the door and tries to walk, but he stumbles and an officer has to help him return to his car.
Investigators said that the driver was placed under arrest and transported to a police station, where he blew more than two-and-a-half times the legal limit for alcohol.
After police posted the video footage on Twitter, Jennifer Neville-Lake, whose three children—Daniel, 9, Harrison, 5, and Milagros, 2—and 65-year-old father Gary Neville, were killed in a drunk driving crash, shared the post and urged drivers to stop getting into their vehicles while impaired.
“Stop it!! JUST STOP IT!! I don’t even know what to say anymore,” Neville-Lake wrote on Twitter. “I spent this past weekend honouring my dead kids and dad instead of enjoying life as their mom with them … all because of impaired drivers. Drunk driving kills. I can’t even.”
The comments came a week after Neville-Lake she visited the crash site, according to her Instagram. She said that while she was there, she noticed a number of Easter baskets, balloons and stuffed animals that were left for her children.
“Every day is a painful struggle for us and the days like today that should be a little extra joyful because they are family holidays are that much more painful for us,” she wrote. “But seeing your expressions of Love and light really do help remind us that we are not alone. So from the bottom of our heart broken hearts, thank you.”
Blair announces funding for training, education
Earlier on Monday, the federal government announced a $17 million investment to keep Ontario’s roads safe from drug-impaired drivers. The money will be used to support training, the purchase of drug-screening devices and the development of standardized data collection to analyze trends in impaired driving.
Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair also unveiled the next phase of the government’s “Don’t Drive High” public awareness campaign, which includes new advertisements meant to educate the public about the dangers of driving while impaired.
When asked about the 24 drivers arrested last week in York Region, Blair said that he hopes a combination of education and police enforcement will act as a deterrent.
“The problem persists. It’s why we are making these investments,” Blair said. “We are hoping that the combination of better education and a better understanding of the risks of impaired driving and the greater certainty of consequences will deter people against making those decisions.”
“As long as there is one (impaired driver), we still work to do. This is a preventable crime. We’ve still got work to do and we are never going to stop.”