Drunk driver hears from parents of her young victimIt is a parent’s worst nightmare.
The phone rings just before midnight. A police officer tells you your child has been in a horrific car crash and is being rushed to hospital.
“This nightmare became a reality for us on Feb. 24, 2017,” Robin Edwards said Tuesday in Ontario Court of Justice at the sentencing hearing of the woman whose decision to drive drunk caused the death of his youngest child.
“The drive up to Hamilton was the longest drive of our lives … constantly praying for our daughter and trying to convince ourselves that everything will be OK.”
Everything was not OK.
The car Jessica Edwards, 23, of Niagara Falls, and her friends were in had been T-boned at the intersection of Taylor and Mountain roads in Niagara Falls.
Robin, his wife Yvonne, and other family members sat vigil at Jessica’s bedside for more than 36 hours, praying for a miracle that wasn’t to come.
“She looked so beautiful,” her father recalled. “You would swear she was just sleeping if not for the 11 tubes going in and out of her.”
At 1:41 p.m. on Feb. 25, Jessica was declared brain dead. As in life, her family says, Jessica was also generous in her death as her heart, lungs, liver, both kidneys and eyes were donated.
“It has been a year but I still cry every day,” her father said.
“Four years ago, I fought and beat stage three cancer. Today, I wish I had not survived.”
Kimberly Servos, of Thorold, pleaded guilty at an earlier court appearance to impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm.
In court Tuesday, assistant Crown attorney Richard Monette asked Judge Peter Wilkie to impose a jail sentence of between five and seven years. Defence lawyer Wayne Brooks said a term of three to four years was more appropriate. The judge will deliver his sentence Thursday.
Servos, a 33-year-old mother of four, told court she is extremely remorseful for her actions.
“I can’t imagine the hole in your hearts I have caused,” she said, addressing Jessica’s family.
“I take full responsibility for my horrendous actions.”
Court was told the defendant was driving 91 km/h when she plowed into the vehicle carrying Jessica and three of her friends.
“Kim Servos murdered my daughter,” Robin said.
“She made a conscious decision to drive the murder weapon.”
Court was told Jessica and her friends had planned a “girls’ night out” that night and opted to hire an Uber. None of them wanted to drink and drive.
It was to be Chelsea Hall’s first evening out since having her daughter, who was five months old at the time.
Hall suffered a broken sacrum — a bone at the base of her spine — a perforated liver and a collapsed lung. She also lost some cognitive abilities due to a blow to the head which resulted in a permanent dent in her forehead.
Her parents became her daughter’s primary caregivers following the crash. That support continues to this day.
“When my baby reached out for my mom instead of me once I was home (from the hospital), I was beyond devastated,” Hall said.
“The choice that this convicted defendant made to drive while under the influence of alcohol changed the trajectory of my life. Her actions robbed me of the experience of raising my own daughter during such an important time of her life.”
Jessica, who worked at Tim Hortons on Pin Oak Drive, was described an independent, fun-loving young woman who went out of her way to help others.
She had volunteered for several relief missions to Nicaragua to help build a school and a church. She visited orphanages and painted pictures with the children in the cancer ward.
Jessica, an active member of Chippawa Presbyterian Church, worked to raise money to help build a trio of playgrounds in impoverished areas of the Central American nation.
A park, called Canada Park in Memory of Jessica Edwards, was built in a small village in Nicaragua in August 2017.
Source: St. Catharines Standard