By Joel van der Veen
KENASTON — For the family and friends of Danille Kerpan, three years has done little to relieve the pain of her untimely death.
“It’s a feeling and a situation you can’t possibly describe,” her brother Josh said Tuesday. “If I could bottle it up and give it to everybody, to have a sip and understand, that alone would eradicate drunk driving.”
Danille, 25, was killed Oct. 10, 2014 in a collision on Highway 11 south of Bladworth, when her vehicle collided headfirst with a truck headed north in a southbound lane.
The driver of that truck, found to have a blood-alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit, was later sentenced to four years in prison.
Danille was one of 59 people killed in Saskatchewan that year in auto collisions in which alcohol was a factor.
Last week, signs were installed on Highway 11 marking the site of that crash, as a permanent memorial to Danille and a reminder to the hundreds of drivers who pass the site daily.
The signs were unveiled at a ceremony held the afternoon of Oct. 10 at the Kowalski farm shop southeast of Bladworth, roughly a half-mile east of the crash site.
About 45 people were in attendance, including her parents, other family members, dignitaries, media and local first responders.
While roadside memorials for victims of impaired driving have been installed in other provinces over the last two decades, this is only the second one in Saskatchewan.
The first was installed on Aug. 29 north of Saskatoon in memory of Jordan and Chanda Van de Vorst and their two children, who were killed in a 2016 collision.
Danille’s parents, Allan and Melanie Kerpan, both spoke during the ceremony.
“There’s still not a day that goes by that I don’t think about Danille and what might have been,” said Melanie, who was initially opposed to having a permanent reminder at the collision site.
She later changed her mind, in hopes that Danille’s story would wake people up to the tragic results of impaired driving.
“People passing it would know that a life was lost at that spot,” she said. “That’s the hope for what we are doing . . . It becomes a real person.”