The Editor, Re: "Crown says Surrey party bus brawl ‘screams’ for greater regulation," the Now online and page A17 in this edition.
My daughter Danielle and I have been lobbying for changes to the party bus industry since the death of my daughter Shannon. She was 16 when she died in 2008, and her death was directly related to activities on board a booze-soaked party bus.
The government didn’t listen to us, thinking that her death was isolated – they were wrong. Had they listened, Ernest Azoadam would be celebrating Halloween with his friends and family. Granted, his autopsy came back that he was absent of alcohol and drugs, however, the bus he was on was also alcohol-fuelled and, similar to Shannon’s case, the police had to re-interview the partiers several times because they were so intoxicated the night Ernest died, they were not able to provide an accurate account of the evening.
Interestingly, the bus Ernest died on is the exact bus Mackenzie Gortva was on when she was beaten and left at a truck stop in Abbotsford. In spite of threats by our government that they will take action against these companies, that very same unlicensed bus company associated with Mackenzie and Ernest has now opened another party bus company under a different name.
Danielle and I have met with several politicians, including our local MLA, mayor, Vancouver city council and provincial ministers of transportation and justice, yet still no changes.
We have been invited to speak at the senate in Olympia in January. Washington State has been watching what has occurred in B.C. and they do not want the same atrocities to happen in their state. They are trying to introduce legislation to tighten the operation of the industry in a preventative measure. Our government, on the other hand, sits and waits for an incident, then they make promises – empty promises.
Rest assured, the law of averages will continue to roll, and another nightmare will unfold on another family’s doorstep as it did on mine and the Azoadam’s.
Thank you for your article – it gave me renewed faith.
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