Mother 'vividly' remembers tragic accident that stole lives of seven teens & teacher
Ten years ago today the Chaleur region was dealt a devastating blow, as news spread of a tragic accident that claimed the lives of seven teens and a teacher.
The collision occurred shortly after midnight on January 12th, 2008, as the BHS Phamtoms boys' basketball team was returning from Moncton, resulting in the deaths of 17 year old Codey Branch, 17 year old Nathan Cleland, 17 year old Justin Cormier, 17 year old Daniel Hains, 17 year old Javier Acevedo, 16 year old Nick Quinn, 15 year old Nicholas Kelly, and 51 year old Elizabeth Lord.
Flags at city buildings in Bathurst fly at half-mast paying tribute to 'The Boys in Red' and Lord as part of an annual day of mourning proclaimed back in December.
On Thursday, a vigil was held at the sacred site on Highway 8, just past the Bathurst city limits sign, where the tragedy took place ten years ago.
Daniel's mother, Isabelle Hains, says people talk about the boys, share stories, pray, and share what they were doing the night the accident occurred.
She says everybody remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing that night.
But for Hains, this year is the same as each and every year she's lived since the accident that stole her son from her.
Hains tells our news room that the events remain fresh in her mind and that a part of her died the day she lost her son.
On this somber anniversary, Hains hopes everyone will take the time remember the boys in their own way, something she thanks the city's proclamation will allow them to do.
In the years following the tragedy, Hains began a lengthy fight to improve the safety of students across the country being transported to and from school events.
She and others succeeded in convincing the government to add multifunctional activity buses to the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Act as an alternative to 15 passenger vans, which she refers to as '15 passenger death traps.'
But despite the government making it known that there are safer transportation alternatives, Hains says some Canadians schools continue to use the 15 passenger vans which, she says, have a much lower survivability rate than the multifunctional activity buses.
She says she took up the fight so that the public would know about the dangers of the vans.
Hains says she misses her son every day and that each family will feel their respective loss for eternity.
She says it took her quite some time to find the energy to get out of bed and cope with the death of her child but adds it was something she had to do in order to fight for the safety of other children.
Information on Hains' fight for school transportation safety can be found at vanangels.ca.