The media publishes a lot of statistics about drunk driving in Saskatchewan, and it’s all too easy for anyone reading to skim over them and not put a name to a number. But the families of the victims, people who have lost friends, children, and parents, know the person they loved is more than just another number, and it’s incredibly difficult for them to piece their lives back together.
Although it’s been two years, moving on has been impossible for the family of J.P.Haughey. A person who was drunk driving in Saskatchewan killed their only son on May 5th, 2014. The driver, Cheyann Peeteetuce, was driving a stolen truck at the time of the crash, and with police in pursuit she sped at 90 km/hr through a stop sign and smashed into the car carrying Haughey and his friend. When police took the drivers blood alcohol concentration (BAC) it was between .14 and .17, double the legal limit.
Both Haughey and his friend died instantly in the crash, and another teenage in the car survived but was seriously injured. Although the passenger in Peeteetuce’s vehicle pleaded guilty to being a party to dangerous driving and evading police causing death, she only received a maximum youth sentence of three years.
Peeteetuce received six years in prison for her crime of drunk driving in Saskatchewan, but the family of Haughey doesn’t think that’s enough. Six years is too light of a sentence for taking a life because of impaired driving, and they’ve called for a Coroner’s inquest into his death in the hopes of that a full review will cause impaired drivers to receive stiffer penalties.
Coroner’s inquests are held to determine many factors surrounding the death of someone outside of police custody, and if they perform one it could be used to educate the public about impaired driving to avoid more preventable deaths.
There’s no word on whether the Coroner’s office will approve the inquest, but if done it could be an important step in the battle against impaired driving in Saskatchewan. It could also be an important step to Haughey’s family being able to move on.