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I have taken responsibility for my actions, but I do not take sole responsibility for what went down that night. I can and have accepted my part in the tragic events of Jan. 6, 2011, but the responsibility is shared.
The completely out of date safety standards of the pitch-black and shoulderless Highway 99 definitely played a huge part in it, as does the constant cavalier and reckless attitudes of the pedestrians who meander or run along and across the road every night dressed all in black and who are, for whatever reason, completely oblivious to exactly what's going on around them. This is an ongoing problem that will continue to produce consequences until something is done.
If there were streetlights along that section of highway, Eleanor would be alive today.
If she was on the well-lit and plowed valley trail 10 metres to the right of the road, she would be alive today. We need lights on Highway 99 from Creekside to Alpine. Anyone who argues for light pollution over safety has never had to look a grieving mother in the eye.
The RCMP has definitely stepped it up as far as programs to prevent this problem, but they are limited in that unless people listen and take affirmative action for themselves there's not much else that the police can do.
Whenever I approach a municipal official about this problem, I am told that it's the province's responsibility for the highway. When I approach the B.C. government, I get nowhere. All I can do is advocate for proper road safety, in and out of the vehicle, at every possible opportunity, and to make very sure that I am as safe a driver as I can possibly be for the rest of my life.
I have felt my part in this tragedy every second, of every minute, of every day since it happened. Not a day goes by where I don't think about it, but I will not shut down and wallow in self-pity for the rest of my life.
I honour the memory of Ellie Reinecke by being the best person that I can possibly be towards others and myself, and by doing everything that I can do to prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again. I never had the chance to meet Ellie, but by all accounts she was an amazing young woman who blessed every single soul she touched. I too will place flowers every year for the same reasons as Mrs. Reinecke.