Victim impact statements read in deadly drunk driving trial
A Barrie courtroom was packed on Thursday as 17 victim impact statements were read by friends and family of Ashley Fogal.
They tried to offer a glimpse at how difficult life has been since Ashley was killed by a drunk driver on August 11th, 2011.
“Ashley was a special person, but everybody here was special to Ashley cause that’s who she was,” says her mother, Susan Fogal, said outside the courtroom.
Ashley and her friend Alyssa Blight were on their way to a concert at Casino Rama when a drunk driver slammed head-on into Ashley’s car.
In November, Christopher Dubreuil pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm. He was in court on Thursday, but said nothing as he left the courthouse.
Alyssa Blight, who survived the crash, was the first to deliver a victim impact statement. She told the court she feels as though she also lost her life that night. It’s a statement echoed by Ashley’s mom.
“It ruins your life; someone may go to jail for 18 months or two years but our days will never be the same. Those feelings of grief and guilt haven’t subsided in the nearly three years since the crash,” says Ashley’s mom.
Jessica Ulrich was waiting for her friend Ashley to show up at the concert at Casino Rama and when she didn’t, says she knew deep down something was wrong.
“I had to drive by that accident scene not knowing it was my friend that was gone. And I encouraged her to come to the concert and now she is gone because of something so thoughtless."
Constable MacIntosh was one of the first officers to arrive on scene. He made the trip to Barrie from Ottawa on Thursday to support the Fogal family.
“I could tell it was a bad crash right when I got on scene. There was a large debris field and when I walked up to Ashley’s car I remember seeing her left hand and her nails were perfect…but her hand was still and I knew it was a bad accident.”
The Fogal family is trying to focus their grief in spreading awareness about the consequences of drunk driving.
“I loved being a mom to Ashley and every day I try to be the best mom that I can to my two children. But part of that is gone. So to those people who think they can drink and drive, please think twice about it,” added Susan Fogal.
Christopher Dubreuil was not sentenced on Thursday and the case will be back in court in April. That's when lawyers will make their arguments about what sort of sentence they would like to see. A judge will make that final decision on May 7th.