The families of a young couple who were killed when their vehicle was pushed into oncoming traffic by an impaired driver is pleading with the public to consider the consequences of driving drunk.
The families of 20-year-old Macy Boyce and 21-year-old Ethan Halford are remembering the two as dedicated university students with the promise of bright futures.
According to police, Boyce and Halford were travelling northbound on Highway 21 near Trochu, Alta., around 10 p.m. on June 17 when their vehicle was rear-ended by another motorist who was speeding. The couple’s car subsequently drove across the centre line and was struck by an oncoming semi-truck.
Police said Boyce and Halford were both declared dead at the scene.
“We take comfort in knowing that they did not suffer, and were together at the end of their too-brief lives,” the families said in a statement.
“We ask the public to remember their names, and consider the consequences of impaired driving. No family should have to live through this pain, grieving for all we have been denied in the hours, days, and years to come.”
The families explained the couple was headed to their first getaway of the summer after Boyce had finished her third year at the University of Calgary for a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Halford studied his third year of Civil Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan.
Three Hills RCMP have laid charges against the driver of the vehicle that struck the couple’s car, including impaired driving charges.
“We do not and cannot know what led the accused to decide to drive in the manner he did that night. We only suffer the fallout of decisions,” said the families.
“The consequences of the choices made have irrevocably affected our family, friends, and everyone whose lives were touched by these two beautiful young people.”
Boyce was a generous, bold and courageous young woman, her family said, whose sense of personal responsibility was in part due to her participation in Calgary Police Service Cadets. She loved travelling and was planning to journey abroad to practise her French bilingualism.
“An advocate for women’s rights, animal welfare and social justice, Macy was known for speaking out for causes she believed in,” said her family.
Halford was a caring, calm and inspiring young man, his family said. He was athletic and played baseball, skied, umpired with his dad and competed at the highest level for amateur wake-surfing.
“His time here has left an impression on those that were lucky enough to have met him,” his family said.
Rick Lundy, the Calgary president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said it is devastating to see another two lives taken because someone got behind the wheel impaired.
“We are frustrated at times because we think, this will be the story that changes people’s minds and yet, we see the same thing happen again. When are people going to get it? It’s a simple solution: do not drive impaired,” said Lundy.
“There’s just no excuse for this at all. With the education out there on the dangers, the amount of people who have lost their lives or seriously injured in impaired driving crashes, we need to learn that this needs to stop. This is not okay.”
Lundy said there are easy and accessible options to get home safely without driving impaired, and he encourages everyone who is going out to make a plan on how they will get home safely. Having a plan before going out ensures someone isn’t making decisions on how they’ll get home while impaired.
“This family will never be the same again,” Lundy said. “We need people to learn from it, and we need people to stand up and say, enough is enough.”
MADD Canada helps with bereaved survivors and victim support and can be reached at 1-800-665-6233 or 905-829-8805. They work to connect people with the appropriate resources for the complex trauma they are experiencing.
Three Hills RCMP charged Richard Douglas Bell, 42, from Elnora, Alta., with two counts of dangerous operation causing death, two counts of impaired operation causing death, impaired driving and refusal to provide a sample.
Bell was remanded into custody and is scheduled to appear in Drumheller Provincial Court on June 24.