Jul 07, 2014 - CHARGES LAID AGAINST DRIVER IN COLLISION DEATH [Kendra Leigh Cole]


Charges have been laid against a Cremona man 11 months after a motor vehicle collision resulted in the death of a Water Valley teen.

Kendra Cole was a passenger in a vehicle that, according to Didsbury police, failed to negotiate a sharp turn on Range Road 25 north of Cremona on July 28, 2013, then rolled, pinning both occupants inside.

Both the driver and Cole were flown by STARS to Foothills Hospital in serious condition after being rescued. Cole spent nine days in a coma and passed away on August 5, 2013.

“Obviously alcohol and speed were factors in the collision, but it took us a while to gather the necessary evidence to lay the appropriate charges,” said Didsbury RCMP Cst. Mike Dillon

The driver, a 26-year-old Cremona man, has now been charged with criminal negligence causing death and impaired operation of a motor vehicle over the legal limit causing death.

Cole’s mother Julie said she and husband Bruce have been anxiously awaiting the conclusion of the investigation.

“We were relieved that something had finally been done, after 11 long months, however it really only confirmed what we already knew in our hearts,” said Julie.

When the collision happened, her daughter had just finished a semester at Red Deer College in general studies trying to decide in which direction she would like to go.

Finally deciding to attend SAIT in the petroleum engineering program, Cole was saving to enroll in the fall of 2014 by working two jobs.

She had worked for the Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) in Cremona for a number of years with the summer kids program, which Julie said she loved because she got to "play" all day long.

Her second job was as a server at the Water Valley Saloon.

“People, young and old were drawn to her, she had such a great sense of humour and quick wit, you couldn't help but have fun when she was around. She has often been described by people who knew her as the kind of girl that every boy wanted to marry and every girl wants to be like when they grow up,” said Julie.

The Coles are seeking justice in the death of their daughter.

“It could be another painful year or two to feel justice has been served. Even with a conviction we feel that the sentences that are currently being handed out at two years for impaired driving causing death is a slap in the face.”

Recently, the Coles have joined Families for Justice, an organization that is working to have the federal government bring about stronger sentencing laws and convictions, to those who have caused a vehicular homicide.

“They have collected over 68,000 signatures in a petition, and Kendra is now another beautiful young face on the group’s banner,” said Julie.

The number of deaths related to impaired drivers is incredible, she said, “but unless these accidents happen in the city of Calgary, nobody ever hears about it. Without a face to the story, no one pays attention and no changes will ever be made.”

Travis Hettinger is scheduled to attend provincial court in Didsbury on July 28 to face the charges.

Source: Carstairs Courier


 

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