• WHITBY -- A person walked past the fire damaged buildings on Brock Street on Sunday, April 5, 2015. An early morning fire on Friday destroyed several historic buidlings in the downtown core. Fire officials have not determined a cause for the blaze.
MADD Sarnia-Lambton wants to give drivers plenty to think about this holiday season.

Volunteers with the organization that works to stop impaired driving gathered Saturday at the corner of Lyndock and Hill streets in Corunna to set up more than 200 white crosses, each draped in a red ribbon.

The crosses have been set up at a different intersection in Sarnia-Lambton each holiday season for the last 15 years.

“Each cross represents a life lost due to impaired driving during the holiday season,” said Natalie Andrews, president of MADD Sarnia-Lambton.

This year’s display sits next to the Corunna office of the Lambton OPP, and across the street from the LCBO.

Sgt. Tim Ives, traffic and marine supervisor for Lambton OPP, said there are approximately 400 impaired driving arrests annually in Sarnia-Lambton.

“Those are the ones that we’ve caught,” he noted.

There are many who drink and drive, and don’t get caught.

“We want to change their mind before they leave their house, or their party, or the bar,” Ives said.

“That’s what this is all about.”

While the arrests are a good thing, Ives said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we never had to do that.”

He said this year’s display is in a “perfect location” to catch the attention of customers visiting the liquor store.

“We’re hoping this sticks in their mind.”

Mary Parkes and her granddaughter, Kristin Parkes, were helping attach ribbons to crosses Saturday.

It was the 18th anniversary of the death of her son Michael, 40, and his real estate partner Gary Abbey, 55, in a drunk driving collision at the corner of Modeland and Michigan roads.

That was the first intersection where MADD set up its crosses.

“I want people to remember the lives that have been lost to such an avoidable thing,” she said.

“People need to make plans before they decide to go out” drinking, to ensure they have a “safe ride home, so you don’t kill innocent people on the road,” Parkes said.

Andrews is also a victim of impaired driving.

She was in her car in January 2007 at the corner of Mitton and George streets in Sarnia when it was hit by a drunk driver who also killed Roberta Macintosh and injured Ralph Macintosh as they stood together on the sidewalk outside their Georgian Shop restaurant.

“I live with chronic, constant, 24-7 pain because of it,” Andrews said.

Along with raising awareness about impaired driving, MADD provides support and services for victims.

“We support victims until they don’t need us anymore,” Andrews said.

MADD Sarnia-Lambton’s major annual fundraiser, a voluntary toll at shopping centre parking lots around the community, is set for Nov. 21, she said.

Source: The Sarnia Observer