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Impaired driving is a preventable tragedy

MADD can help you deal with the tragedy of impaired driving.
1805 impaired sup CC
There are 54 names of Albertans listed on this monument who were killed in motor vehicle collisions caused by impaired driving. MADD/Photo

At the RCMP detachment in Parkland County, you’ll find the MADD Memorial that was established last fall. There are 54 names of Albertans engraved on the granite there, each name representing someone who was killed in a motor vehicle crash caused by a driver who was impaired by drugs or alcohol.  

Those names include Michael Kryger and Mark Kryger, two brothers who were on a road trip to British Columbia along with Michael’s daughter. At around 7 a.m. on July 4, 2018, they were traveling west near Valemount when an eastbound Jeep pulling a trailer crossed the centre line into the westbound lane and collided head on with the Krygers’ Honda Civic. The two men were killed instantly. The driver of a semi that was behind them was forced to swerve and hit a rock face to avoid the collision ahead. That driver came out without injury, the RCMP reported at the time

One of Michael's daughters was in the back seat of the vehicle, the only part that wasn’t crushed. She was seriously injured but she did survive and she’s doing quite well right now, according to Lori Kryger. 

Lori was told about the crash and the deaths right away. She was told later about the cause of the collision. 

The Jeep’s driver was impaired by cannabis.

"We didn’t know that immediately. Once we found that out, I was able to reach out to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) because I had no idea what to do. We really just didn’t know," she said.

"They have literally been our lifeline through this process. It would have been much more difficult trying to navigate through this chapter of our story without their support."

A loss like this has a ripple effect that touches countless lives forever, she later said in a testimonial on MADD's website. On the day of the funeral, it reports, the church was filled to overflowing with many people having to stay outside to listen to the service.

"There's a lot of different people in very different parts of their journey, but everyone can offer some sort of support to everybody else. It's a very unique place where people actually just get it; you don't have to explain it. You don't have to explain how you're feeling. You don't have to explain why you're having a bad day. Everyone just gets it," Lori continued, adding that there's also a national support group she participates in. That group is for people who have lost their spouses.

Each group offers an invaluable measure of emotional support to her.

"Literally, those groups are what get me through each month."  

MADD offers a number of free services to victims and survivors of impaired driving crashes. It can provide people to accompany you to court. It can make referrals so you can see a professional to help you get through your trauma. It also hosts local support groups where you can talk through your experiences and your emotions.

All in all, it has provided supportive services to approximately one million people at no charge through these local victim support groups. In Edmonton, you can call 780-488-6233 or visit MADD Edmonton's website. There is also a national victim and survivor support line: 1-800-665-6233.

According to the B.C. Coroners’ Service, more than one-third of all deaths in motor vehicle collisions between 2008 and 2018 were caused by impaired drivers.