Penticton RCMP officers were honoured last week for their diligence in removing impaired drivers from the roads.
The officers were given membership on Alexa’s Team, which recognizes police officers, both RCMP and municipal police, that have forwarded to the Crown a minimum of 10 full impaired driving charges and/or issued 90-day driving prohibitions under the new immediate roadside prohibition sanctions. In addition the officers have issued 24-hour, three-day and seven-day driving prohibitions in 2010.
Penticton Constables Andrew Campbell, Michael Nelson, Peter Mann and Reserve Const. Garry Moritz are four officers out of 420 who have been honoured onto the team since 2008.
In those three years, members of Alexa’s Team have removed over 18,000 alcohol and/or drug impaired drivers from B.C. roads.
Alexa’s Team was formed three years ago in remembrance of Alexa Renée Middelaer who lost her life in May 2008 at age four and a half after being run down by a vehicle driven by an impaired driver.
Alexa’s grandparents sustained emotional shock and physical injury and her aunt, who was standing with her by the side of the horse paddock, continues to recover from life-threatening injuries.
A 56-year old woman from Delta has since been convicted of two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm and death and two counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and death.
“Knowing that impaired driving is the number one cause of criminal death in B.C., knowing that on average two British Columbians die each week due to impaired driving, and knowing that this is how our four-year-old daughter was killed is almost unbelievable, and I am sure that everyone reading this would concur,” said Laurel Middelaer, the mother of Alexa.
“There are hundreds of families in B.C. that share our experience. As a family we choose to look for solutions. We are working with others to make this province and this country safer.”
The Middelaer family, along with the BCAA Road Safety Foundation and Surrey City Mayor Dianne Watts recently kicked off the Alexa’s Bus campaign with an initial goal of raising $250,000 to bring a mobile impaired driving testing unit to B.C.
“Like Alexa’s Team, Alexa’s Bus is another means to deter impaired drivers through education and enforcement,” said Allan Lamb, executive director of the BCAA Road Safety Foundation. “The mobile units are in use around the world and have proven to be effective tools for police enforcing impaired driving laws.”
Lamb said significantly more people die in traffic crashes than as a result of all homicides and murders, and that the majority of impaired drivers who are over the .08 legal limit come from licenced premises.