EDMONTON – Two days ahead of the two year anniversary of a crash that claimed three young men’s lives, family and friends of one of the victims have come together to honour them.
Bradley Arsenault, 18, Kole Novak, 18, and Thaddeus Lake, 22, were killed in a crash in Beaumont on Nov. 26, 2011. They were on their way home when the vehicle they were in collided with a vehicle driven by an alleged drunk driver.
“They were well loved. They were just the nicest boys you could ever meet, just always happy,” said Bradley’s uncle, Gerard Marrinier.
Sunday afternoon, Bradley’s family and friends placed a cross at the crash site, just west of the intersection at Highway 625 and 60 Street, in memory of the young men.
“It’s just to sort of commemorate or act as a memory of what happened here two years ago,” said George Marrinier, Bradley’s grandfather.
“For the people in Beaumont, the friends, the neighbours- a lot of them drive by and we just believe it’s time to have a marker there,” explained Sheri Arsenault, Bradley’s mother. “And for that to be a reminder to everybody that passes by and sees that cross to not drink and drive. Then right there, maybe their lives weren’t in vein.”
Arsenault was not at the ceremony Sunday. She says she’s never visited the collision site because it’s simply too hard.
“I honestly can never, ever go there,” she said from her home Sunday. “A lot of people go there and remember Bradley, remember Kole, remember Thad. But for me, he’s not there.
Since her son’s death, Arsenault has made it her mission to push for stricter impaired driving laws across Canada. The Families for Justice organization she’s involved with has collected 50,000 signatures on a petition calling for stricter regulations.
“In all the research, everything I’ve looked at and have read, nothing has changed in well over 35 years and it just needs to stop.”
In July, she briefly met with Justice Minister Peter MacKay. A more formal meeting is in the works for early next year, Arsenault added.
“He has said without a doubt he wants to speak with us, he wants to see our presentation, he wants to hear us. So we’re going to hold him to that.”
And while Arsenault says nothing will bring Bradley back to her, stricter penalties for people who choose to drink and drive will bring her a little bit of closure.
“That would give me some peace to know – and I’ll never know how many – lives were saved, families were spared this unbelievable grief of losing a child so senselessly,” Arsenault said. “I was never able to say goodbye to my son, see him… and that is something that is on my mind every minute of every day.”
With files from Cheryl Oates, Global News.