The man who killed our two beautiful children was again found not guilty in the Court of Appeal in Toronto. We returned home drained, angry and agonizingly frustrated by the “justice” system.
Knowing the acquittal would be printed in our local newspaper (The Sudbury Star), I called the newsroom and asked them to meet me with a photographer in front of the courthouse. I was there displaying a huge sign bearing the same words as my t-shirt: ‘’The Judge Says it’s OK to Drive, Sleep & Kill’’. My furious one-woman demonstration drew a special onlooker. The judge himself was returning from lunch with his buddies and I was able to flash this sign right at him!!!!
It was big time revenge and it made the paper.
I had built several crosses and placed them at the crash site. Someone kept pulling them out. When I called the city I was told they had no objection but that someone was calling to try to prevent me from putting them there. Each time a set was pulled out I would take another set and replace it. It was rocky ground and no easy task.
Chrysler Canada also triggered huge, lasting rage. I printed flyers saying, ‘’The back hatch opens on impact, expelling children, killing them’’. I placed these flyers on the windshield of every Chrysler Grand Caravan that I saw. But I had no chance in a battle with Chrysler itself, my meagre resources against their millions in a legal battle!. We were not the only people to lose children because of this defect. CBC’s Market Place contacted us for a report they aired on the subject. Lawyers in the U.S. who were representing other victims (who could afford civil action) contacted me with questions.
It was another five years before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began to deal seriously with the problem which had resulted in at least 41 deaths. Testing over several years revealed that rear hatches popped open in impacts of less than 20 miles an hour. Further examination revealed the removable rear seats would fly out in similarly modest impact. For many children like mine, properly belted in place, minor accidents meant serious injury or death.http://ndmi.ca/MarketPlace_Video.html
Fatality number mounted as crash tests, vehicle advisories and recalls, legal battles and class action lawsuits continued in the U.S. for another decade. In just one case a family was awarded $12.5 million in actual damages and $250-million in punitive damages for the death of their six-year-old son. The latter figure was assessed largely because of Chrysler’s lobbying in Washington to avoid a vehicle recall even though the problems were well known. There was an appeal and a final settlement for an undisclosed amount.
As sporadic reports appeared through this years-long process I was reminded of the horror that could have been avoided and the unfairness of fate. But through the years I also learned I had to overcome my insane campaign for revenge if I was to survive myself.