The widow of Stuart Ellis, the 28-year-old father from Beeton, Ont., killed by a suspected impaired driver in November is shocked by statistics released by York Regional Police Wednesday about impaired driving in 2017.
They are statistics that Justine Ellis thought would never affect her family.
Stuart Ellis, an electrician, was headed to work in Toronto on Nov. 13 when his car was struck head-on by a car on Highway 48 south of Davis Drive in East Gwillimbury.
The other driver, 20-year-old Tyler Nielsen of Newmarket, was arrested at the scene and charged with impaired driving causing death. He’s now out on $20,000 bail awaiting trial.
“I never in a million years thought that I’d be in this position. Everything in our lives was going so great,” Justine Ellis told Global News Wednesday.
The statistics released by police showed that roughly 1,600 people were charged with impaired-related offences last year in York Region, relatively unchanged from 2016 and 2017.
“What is shocking … is we’ve seen some very significant increases in impaired by drug charges,” Const. Laura Nicolle told Global News. “This year we’re up 21 per cent in impaired by drug charges over last year but we’re up 90 per cent over 2015.”
Ellis said the loss of her husband has been heartbreaking.
“Stu got up to go to work to take care of his family and on the way, in the early morning, his life was taken by somebody who made a stupid choice.”
At the time of Stuart Ellis’s death, the couple had just learned they were expecting the couple’s second child. They already had a 14-month-old son. Justine Ellis said at 13 weeks into her pregnancy, an ultrasound shows the baby is doing well.
“It was really great to be able to see a healthy baby and the baby’s growing but it was also really bittersweet because I just was wanting the baby to have her dad there.”
Justine Ellis plans to keep her late husband’s story alive by speaking out against drinking and driving. She said if she can stop one person from getting behind the wheel drunk, it will be worthwhile.
“I’m obviously sad for myself and for my kids but I’m also sad about all the things that Stu misses out on now.”
— With files from Nick Westoll
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