Saskatchewan is well known for having one of the worst impaired driving records in Canada. The province is routinely in the news because of their high impaired driving rates, and just this past December Saskatchewan RCMP laid 300 impaired driving charges in a single month.
It’s all too easy to gloss over the impaired driving statistics and rates of fatalities caused by drinking and driving, but these crashes have an all too real human cost. Danille Kerpan’s family knows this, and after the drunk driver who killed her was sentenced to four years in prison, her family is hoping that the stiff penalty will be a turning point in the province as well as a wake up call to other people who drink and drive.
The crash happened on October 10th, 2014. Danille was driving on a highway near Bladworth, Saskatchewan when John Koch drove into her car head on. He was thrown from the vehicle, and Danille died instantly from her injuries.
Koch pleaded guilty to drunk driving causing death, and although most drunk drivers in a similar situation will only receive 24 to 30 months in prison, he’s receiving four years. He will also receive a seven-year prohibition from driving after he’s released from prison.
For their part, the Kerpan family are happy with his sentence, and they hope it makes other people think twice about drinking and driving. But like every fatal crash in Saskatchewan or anywhere else in Canada, jail time, drivers license suspensions, and thousands of dollars in fines won’t do the one thing they wish for most: bring back their daughter.
Until people in Saskatchewan make the choice to stop drinking and driving, the province will continue to have one of the worst impaired driving records in Canada and more lives will be lost to the senseless act of drinking and driving.