Key chains for Wendy

A local woman is honouring her mother’s memory by raising awareness about distracting driving.

Wendy Clark died in Windsor hospital last Oct. 21, two days after a distracted driver struck her on Main Street in Ridgetown.

Her daughter, Rachel Mattsson, is raising money for a memorial bench to be placed at a site to be determined. She has started her fund-raising endeavour by selling a special key chain in her mother’s memory.

The key chains include an inscription, ‘Drive Safe, Someone Loves You,’ along with her mother’s initials ‘WC’ inside of a heart.

The key chains are available in Ridgetown at the Ridgetown Independent News and Ridgetown Feed & Supply, as well as two locations in Thamesville, at Laurie Clark Design (9 Victoria St.) and Canter Lope (69 London Road).

The family is asking for a minimum $5 donation per key chain.

Mattsson said she is in preliminary conversation with the Lambton Kent District School Board about running an annual essay contest for secondary school students, with an award for the best entry. The topic will be distracted driving.

“We’re hoping to have kids write an essay based on, ‘if you were in the passenger seat of a car and the driver was impaired in any way or driving unsafe, such as texting, how would they deal with the situation so their peers can learn from that,” Mattsson said.

Details on when the essay contest can take place, as well as the participating grades, are still being worked out.

“We hope to be able to do it this school year,” Mattsson said.

Clark, a 66-year-old Morpeth native, had just stepped out of her vehicle and was about to cross the street to go to a pharmacy when she was struck by a vehicle. The driver fled the scene, but thanks to witness statements and surveillance video, Chatham-Kent Police located and arrested a 38-year-old Ridgetown man, who was charged with failing to remain at a collision resulting in bodily harm, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and two related Highway Traffic Act offences.

“She was very caring. She would do anything for anyone, the shirt off her back kind of person,” Mattsson said in a previous interview with local media. “She was a super talented lady. If you gave her any task, she would get it done.”

“Distracting driving kills. We really have to think about our lives; we must put everything down and drive safely,” ended Mattsson.

Michael Bennett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News