Josh Baylis

Josh Baylis

Janine Carr is saddened that 18-year-old Joshua Baylis died from injuries sustained in a single-vehicle crash believed to have involved alcohol.

But the co-chair of the Chatham-Kent Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is also frustrated that the message the organization continues to deliver isn’t always heeded – especially by young people.

“When nobody is killed by impaired driving or nobody is injured by impaired driving, our message goes to the wayside,” she said Tuesday.

People don’t believe it can happen to them, she added.

But, “as soon as there’s a fatality in your community, the message becomes important again.”

The message about the dangers of impaired driving should be important everyday, Carr said, adding it also needs to be instilled at home.

Baylis, of Chatham, was the passenger in a vehicle that Chatham-Kent police report was travelling at a high rate of speed through the community of Charing Cross shortly after 3 a.m. on Saturday.

The vehicle left the roadway, crashed through the fenced compound of a business and struck a large snow blower, police said.

Despite efforts to resuscitate him, Baylis died of injuries sustained in the crash.

The 17-year-old male driver, who sustained non life-threatening injuries, is facing charges of criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide a breath sample, said police. Two other passengers also received non life-threatening injuries.

No matter what happens through the court system, Carr said the teen accused in this case will have to live with this for the rest of his life.

But he isn’t the only one impacted by the death of Baylis, she said.

“This is a life-altering measure for families, the friends, the co-workers, the relatives,” Carr said. “Their lives will never be the same.”

She noted it is this kind of tragedy that keeps MADD in business to continue delivering the message about the consequences of impaired driving.

MADD has a multi-media show it takes the high schools to get across the consequences of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, Carr said, adding it was delivered as recently as May 16 at Wallaceburg District Secondary School.

She said the presentation is so powerful that many students leave in tears.

But the exuberance of youth can sometimes be too tough to penetrate with such a message of caution.

“At that age . . . they think their lives will last forever,” Carr said. “They’re 10-feet tall and bullet-proof.”

Source: Chatham Daily News