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Eight years later: Memorial walk remembers teens killed by drunk driver

Families remember their slain loved ones even as they continue to fight to end impaired driving

On June 21, it will be eight years since Jazmine Houle, Steven Philippe and Caitlin Jelley were killed by an impaired driver. That was June 21, 2009.

The drunk driver, Nicholas Piovesan, kept going and crashed into a house a kilometre away. He was later sentenced to the harshest penalty in Canadian history for impaired driving causing death.

That day will forever be etched into the minds of many people in Greater Sudbury. For the families of those teenager, every day they've endured after their children were taken from them is a constant reminder of the potential that will never be realized. 

Lisa Jelley, Corrie Lamoureux and Jocelyne Philippe have made it their mission in life to prevent other parents from going through the nightmare they've experienced. They formed the Impact 6/21 Foundation with the goal of stamping out impaired driving — whether by alcohol, drugs or any other means — for good.

On June 18 — Father's Day — Impact 6/21 held its sixth annual memorial walk to honour the memories of Jazmine Houle, Steven Philippe and Caitlin Jelley.

“Tonight is to just remember our kids, and to remember the reason they were taken,” said Lisa Jelley. “We want to encourage everyone to do their part in preventing it from ever happening again. There are still lots of people in this city who get behind the wheel when they are impaired, and it can't be just the police that stop them. 

"We need to look out for each other, and hopefully no one else will have suffer tragedies like we have.”

The memorial walk was preceded by the Impact 6/21 Soap Box Derby, which drew the attention of 61 racers on June 17.

Corrie Lamoureux, Jazmine's mom, said all three teens would have absolutely thrilled to be honoured in such a fun way.

“The would have loved to have seen the people laughing,” she said.

The reason the three moms are so adamant about getting the message out to the public, is they want to see something positive come out of the tragedy of losing their children.

“We feel there has to be something to come out of this, so that they didn't die in vain,” she said. “We wand to keep their memory alive, and honour them the best way we know how.”

Coping with Jazmin'e death is by and far the most difficult thing Lamoureux has ever dealt with.

“I go through it every day,” she said. “But, we have so much support in our lives.”

Jazmine was a prankster with a fire-cracker personality, she said.

“She was always happy, a person who always found the good in everything. I know if she were still with us, and someone she knew had been affected by drinking and driving, that she would be here helping to keep their memory alive.”

Arron Pickard

About the Author: Arron Pickard

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