Mom of killed flag person asks Canadian drivers to slow down in construction zones

WATCH ABOVE: The mother of a New Brunswick teenager killed while working as a highway worker in Saskatchewan is pleading with drivers to slow down and save lives. Global’s Laura Brown reports.

GRAND BAY-WESTFIELD, N.B. – Brenda Richards is pleading with drivers across Canada to slow down in construction zones.

Richards lost her daughter, Ashley, three years ago this week in a motor vehicle crash at a construction zone in southern Saskatchewan.

“Around 10:30 at night, I had a call from the RCMP detachment in Regina, telling me that Ashley was killed,” she said.

On Aug. 24, 2012, 47-year-old Keith Dunford allegedly struck and killed 18-year-old Ashley Dawn Richards with his car near Midale, Sask.

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READ MORE: Lack of communication frustrates family after daughter’s death

Richards was a couple hours into her first shift as a flag person on Highway 39 when she was struck.

Brenda Richards looks on at a construction zone close to her home in New Brunswick. Laura Brown/Global News

Dunford will be back in court Oct. 13, when the judge is expected to hand down her decision.

According to testimony, Richards’ body was found an estimated 54 metres from where she had been standing.

READ MORE: Trial begins for man accused of striking, killing flag person in Midale, Sask.

“When I see a flag person, it really, really wrenches my heart, because that’s where we lost our daughter,” said Richards.

Richards still gets emotional when she approaches a construction zone, but she says she always slows down completely – and she wants other drivers to do the same.

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“It’s not a hurry to get through, you need to slow down and be safe for yourself and other people,” she said.

It’s the height of construction season in the Maritimes, as many projects are trying to be finished before the fall.

Constable Hans Ouellette of the RCMP’s traffic unit says, this month alone, he’s issued dozens of speeding tickets to drivers in construction zones.

He says he had just responded to one before the interview he had with Global News on Wednesday. There were no injuries, but he said others haven’t been as lucky.

“The only thing separating someone, who is technically a pedestrian working on the highway with vehicles going 90 to whatever speed they’re actually going through the construction zone, is pylons,” he said.

In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, fines double for speeding in construction zones. The lowest fine is $340 and can rise to well over $1,000, depending on the factors.

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