'Indescribable': Pain of drunk driving death still lingers at 5th annual Nick Coates Memorial Car Show
The weather co-operated and the sun was shining as family and friends of Nick Coates gathered in Conception Bay South on Saturday for the fifth annual car show in his memory.
Coates died four years ago in August 2013 after Ronald Thistle — a drunk driver — collided with his motorcycle on Kenmount Road in St. John's.
A few hundred people attended the show at the new Conception Bay South arena, which showcased dozens of trucks, bikes and cars.
It was organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada, of which Coates's stepmother, Patricia Hynes-Coates, is the president, and his father, Terry Coates.
"Nicholas was 27 years old. He was the glue that kept the family together. He really was. He was the person that didn't wanna fight, didn't want to argue. He loved everyone," said Hynes-Coates.
She said the event is a yearly reminder of the dangers of drunk driving, and how one man or woman's decision to drive inebriated can lay waste to someone's life and affect their family forever.
"The tremendous loss, the heartache, the pain, that we suffer and so many other Newfoundland and Labradorians suffer … because someone chose to get behind the wheel and drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol … is indescribable," said Hynes-Coates.
Hoping to see the blood-alcohol limit lowered
On Saturday, Avalon MP Ken MacDonald also awarded Hynes-Coates the Canada 150 community leader award for her contributions to C.B.S.
She told CBC News she's hopeful the federal government will follow through on a proposal to change the blood-alcohol limit for drivers from 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood to 50.
"Our federal government is now stepping up and saying they want the [blood-alcohol leve] for the Criminal Code offence dropped to 0.05, and I truly believe that our Newfoundland government is going to do that if our federal government is successful," said Coates-Hynes.
New Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Joe Boland agreed.
He said that in the run of a year, the RNC typically stops between 300 and 400 people for driving under the influence, adding that police would welcome tougher blood-alcohol standards in the province.
"We will certainly support anything that comes forward that will reduce impaired driving in our community," he said.