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Re: “Letters to the editor for the week of January 16th

What a pity the people above - who do not add their names (??) - cannot read and understand what I am saying. Instead they have chosen only to read what they want to see and make ugly personal comments. I guess someone who continues to point out the problems you have in Whistler could be seen as a nuisance. Ignorant people like the writers will always take a defensive stand. But there are other readers who DO understand my point and would like to find a positive way to prevent this happening again.

Unfortunately the world is full of people who prefer to hide their heads in the sand - rather than make any effort to find a way to rectify the problems. This was not an 'unfortunate accident' . It was an accident waiting to happen - and will happen again.

And as for the driver. Defend him if you must but the FACT is- he repeatedly said it wasn't his fault. He DID NOT accept any responsibility for the accident in spite of admitting to speeding. He challenged the fine and loss of points - saying it wasn't his fault. He couldn't even take a fine on the chin! Is this how one accepts responsibility? According to the two letters writers above - apparently it is.

16 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by PReinecke on 01/26/2014 at 2:18 AM

Re: “Letters to the editor for the week of January 16th

Dear Editor

I write in response to a letter from Bernie Peup and Catrina Baksin.

My letter would be too long to respond to all their comments - but I hope what follows is an explanation to both.

Firstly, I have in fact thanked both Senka Florist and the Whistler Police personally. In fact I have now been dealing with them for three years. My letter to the newspaper was a public 'thank you' for their kindnesses and consideration and I make no apologies for that. Perhaps Ms Baskin could have checked her facts before making that remark?

Secondly- and let me be very clear here - I have NEVER tried to reduce my daughter Ellie's share of the blame in her death. I cannot tell you how often I said to both my daughters to be careful - that if they made poor decisions it is always the people left behind who suffer the consequences. I have to say though that Ellie was always the sensible and conscientious one in all our family. She didn't do stupid things. She never drank and drove a car - always planned ahead. On this night she had too much to drink and lost her way in an area in which she was unfamiliar. I can't tell you how often I have felt angry with her since that night.

I guess just over three years ago, I could have been making similar comments to anybody who had lost a child: after three years shouldn't you 'move on'? Well I would be eating my words now. I miss my daughter every day of my life, and getting over it simply isn't going to happen. I hope that neither of the writers have lost a child and never do, but if that has happened or if indeed it happens in the future I hope they can 'get over it' more quickly than I can.

I must say I am absolutely shocked and insulted that two people could think that the loss of a deeply loved child is something that one should 'move on from' or 'get over'. Callous and un-empathetic are words that come to my mind when I read your words.

Perhaps the real problem here is that people simply don't like to be reminded of how a simple 'mistake' - so easily made - can affect the lives of others so dramatically - and forever.

But let me be clear here. The driver of the taxi that killed my daughter was SPEEDING. The police were able to prove he was speeding and in fact the driver admitted to speeding. I repeat: the driver was SPEEDING and ADMITTED to it. Not only that - he was speeding on a night of poor visibility, and in poor road conditions and as a taxi driver he should have been MORE responsible - not less.

More importantly is what the driver of the taxi SAID after the accident - and here I am quoting - he said, "it was not my fault" - so even though he admitted to speeding he refused to take any responsibility for his role in the death of my daughter. Perhaps this is typical of young people - that what ever they do it is never 'their fault'. Much, much worse than this is that the prosecutor allowed the driver to get away without any punishment. In effect the prosecutor has virtually said 'it is OK to speed and kill someone'. Ms Baksin is clearly unaware that the likelihood of a pedestrian being killed in a road accident is increased exponentially with an increase in speed.

No - it wasn't the taxi driver's fault that Ellie was partying, but it was his fault that he was travelling at a speed above the legal limit and lost control of his car in poor weather conditions, preventing him from stopping in time to avoid the accident. Perhaps it would have been easier for us to move on if the driver had taken some of the responsibility for his role in the accident. After all our daughter paid with her life for her mistake.

And Ms Baksin - I am not sure you completely understand here - the driver of the taxi that killed my daughter was NOT drug and alcohol tested. So your comment about another driver involved in another accident and being drug and alcohol tested is even more puzzling - why one and not the other?

As for pedestrians in Whistler being a problem walking all over the roads in the middle of the night. Well isn't that something that should be addressed? Perhaps both writers could ask - 'WHY'? Why do pedestrians walk on the road? I have now visited Whistler twice. Both times the WHY was perfectly clear to me. Both writers complain about pedestrians walking on the road. In fact Mr Peup has called it an 'epidemic' If one has an 'epidemic' one usually looks for the cause! Indeed he has made it clear that car accidents in Whistler each winter are a common occurrence. Mr Peup himself seems to have had a number of near misses for which he is quick to blame the pedestrian. Was it possible that he was not driving correctly to the poor road conditions, or his car was not suited to those conditions? Which is exactly what the driver of the taxi that killed Ellie was NOT doing - driving to suit the road conditions.

As for young intoxicated pedestrians. Well that is the whole culture that is encouraged at the Whistler Ski Resort isn't it? Work hard and play hard. And here I am not pointing fingers - simply stating a fact that is common to tourist areas all over the world. Encouraging young people to drink for the profit of the businesses in the resort.

And if Mr Peup thinks I am trying to seek 'justice' for the death of 'that poor girl' - her name is Ellie by the way, and she was a beautiful, bright, happy, well-loved young woman, never a 'poor girl' - then you are definitely right. I never believed the driver should go to jail. I only EVER wanted him to take some responsibility and accept some sort of punishment (which he didn't) - and I would have thought the loss of license for an number of months and a big fine - in order to make him realise that SPEEDING is NOT OK; and that running someone down because you are speeding is NOT OK. And I am delusional to think that? Well I can tell you in most other western countries it is NORMAL.

And Ms Baksin - you are absolutely correct. It isn't just about Ellie's death. As you so rightly have pointed out is about making people take responsibility for their actions. Ellie paid with her life, but the driver has yet to admit to any responsibility for HIS his part in her death, and the prosecutor failed in HIS responsibility to make sure the driver was punished in any way for breaking the law speeding and causing her death! So YES - in fact I am pointing my finger at both of them. And I will continue to do so.

The fact that I continue to remind people that there was NO JUSTICE for our daughter has 'brought down' poor Ms Baksin is of no concern to me. There are many other caring people in Whistler who support my opinion.

The driver who speeds, or drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol, will continue to kill on the roads - and pedestrians will continue to pay with their lives in Whistler - so long as they are not made to take responsibility for their actions.

Mr Peup and Ms Baksin - no you cannot bring back a life- I only wish you could. But if my 'tirades' once (only) a year serve as a reminder - perhaps instead of criticising me you could actually use the that fact that we, as a family, 'have not been able to get over' the death of Ellie - and work towards finding the reasons people continue to walk on the roads in Whistler and find way to stop people speeding in poor road conditions then Ellie's death may serve a purpose and not be 'unproductive'.

I hope so. Before another young person dies and another family ends up hurting as much as we do.

23 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by PReinecke on 01/21/2014 at 2:10 AM

Re: “Letters to the editor for the week of January 17th

I would like to make a further response to Ben. It is great that you have wanted to support your friend. However we, Ellie's family, have just been advised that James Pate HAS NOT accepted any responsibility in her death. In fact he decided he had done nothing wrong and contested the fine. Apparently the Prosecutor decided it was OK to speed and kill someone and as a result James has got away without even a fine! We feel completely betrayed by the system of law in British Columbia. I had been willing to give James the benefit of the doubt but he has now confirmed what I thought of him all along. Shame on you James. Penny Reinecke.

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by PReinecke on 01/24/2013 at 11:19 AM

Re: “Letters to the editor for the week of January 17th

I would like to respond to Ben. I wrote a VERY long letter to the editor of this paper after we went to Whistler in January 2012 for the first anniversary of Ellie's death. However the editor declined to print it in full. In it, I FULLY explained the reason why - in my opinion- Ellie would have been walking along the road that night. The area was unfamiliar to her. Further, in my opinion - and I went to the area where Ellie was killed twice in the dark early hours of the morning - the path is VERY frightening in the dark - I personally felt afraid walking along there as it is lonely and way below the road level. Also at the time of her death there had been a great deal of snow and when the police took us to see the area they had to point out the entry to the path as we could not see it - even in the day light - as the snow was piled high. I imagine Ellie could not have found the entrance that night - and may not have even known the path existed as it is clear she was lost that night. Further, on the night of her death, the snow was banked up high against the rail at the side of the road - the WAS NO side of road to walk on. And Jamie admitted to us in the meeting, that HE WAS FULLY AWARE that people often walked on the road as an alternative to the lonely path below the road. With this knowledge he should have been driving more slowly and carefully on that section of the road - NOT speeding 9 kms above the limit, which he seems to think is OK (and why wouldn't he - as the law let him get away with it didn't it?

Our main complaint however - are the laws in British Columbia which allow for a person to be speeding and kill someone, yet to take no responsibility for their actions. Speeding is breaking the law. Speeding and killing someone should be punishable by more than simply a fine and the loss of a couple of points. How does this discourage others (particularly young people) from speeding. And if you cannot be drug and alcohol tested at an accident - particularly one which results in a death - how does this discourage others from doing just that? (I reiterate - i am not accusing Jamie of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol). These laws are more strict in all other countries I have ever visited and the punishment is far greater, particularly if a death is involved.

No matter who was in the wrong that night, or how many excuses are made about the road and lighting and alternative routes one can walk along - the is ABSOLUTELY no doubt in my mind that if Jamie had not been speeding, and had been driving more carefully as the weather should have dictated that night - he may have seen Ellie on the road that night and had time to stop. We were made aware by the police investigation that in fact Jamie was still over the speed limit that night when he hit and killed Ellie. Our precious Ellie.

I hope this comment explains our position clearly. Many questions in our mind about the circumstances of the accident, were never answered satisfactorily. I too, have never placed the blame solely on Jamie but the punishment (for want of a better word) should be more suitable to the circumstances - in order to make sure others are deterred from breaking the law.

I thank Jamie and Ben for not making any comments against Ellie and for acknowledging our ongoing pain.

Regards Penny Reinecke

1 like, 9 dislikes
Posted by PReinecke on 01/18/2013 at 2:52 AM

Re: “Letters to the editor for the week of January 17th

What Jamie has said is in most part correct. And I am not saying otherwise. I did email Jamie after we left in 2012 but I did not get a response. What I wanted was for him to actually admit responsibility. At our meeting he consistently said that he 'had done nothing wrong'. This is where I disagree. Of course we know he never meant the terrible accident to happen. But he was speeding (9 kms over the limit according to what we were told). If he hadnt have been speeding he may have seen Ellie on the road and had more time to stop. It was also a terrible weather night and he was supposed to be a responsible taxi driver - so should have been taking a great deal more care on the road - not less care. I believe my husband Robert may have said those things in complete pain and despair and of course he didnt mean it! I certainly never wished Jamie to go to jail, but I felt very strongly after our meeting that he did not wish to take responsibility for his actions. I also believe Ellie had to take responsibility, and lets face it - the consequences of her actions that night were much greater to her than to Jamie. However my biggest complaint was against the laws in Canada. Firstly because Jamie wasn't drug or alcohol tested (not that I am saying he was under any of those influences) which would have been the first thing that happened anywhere else in the world I think! However Ellie - who died and had no say in the matter - was tested as part of the autopsy. And secondly because although being charged with speeding it was treated as a minor offence. This to us, Ellie's family, makes a mockery of her death - and sends a message to all young people that it is OK to speed and kill someone. You will get no more than a slap on the wrist.

Jamie made a mistake and lost a couple of points and received a small fine. Ellie made a mistake (a lesser mistake given that I dont think she was actually breaking the law?) and lost her life. Our family has lost her forever and the pain and missing her will never, ever leave us. We have lost a daughter, a sister, a friend, a future son-in-law, future grandchildren. So much loss - simply because a driver thinks it is ok to speed.

This is what I wanted to point out in my letter to the editor - in fact I wrote a very long letter to this paper in 2011 - unfortunately the editor did not wish to print it in full

I do however thank Jamie for his comments. And to tell him I do not think he is a bad person. But just a young person who made a mistake. But I also want him - and others - to know that speeding is not OK - speeding and driving under the influence can have terrible consequences that can never be undone. And the law in Canada needs to acknowledge this and make sure that drivers who break the law have to suffer the consequences. At the very least Jamie should have lost his license for a period long enough to realise he WAS responsible and speeding is NOT OK.

Thank you regards Penny Reinecke

1 like, 12 dislikes
Posted by PReinecke on 01/18/2013 at 2:09 AM

Re: “Alcohol, speeding blamed in Eleanor Reinecke's death

My name is Penny Reinecke and I am Ellie's mum. I have lost my beautiful, precious daughter. My heart aches constantly still. The above article is a highly watered down statement of the truth and what I actually wrote in a very long letter to this newspaper. They were fearful of being sued for libel. Fair enough I guess but not good reporting. My daughter may have had too much to drink that night and we freely admit she went out to fun. However Ellie did not break any law. The taxi driver DID break the law by speeding. Not only speeding, but in control of a vehicle licensed to carry passengers and speeding on a night when he should have reduced his speed to cope with the weather conditions. If the driver had not been speeding he may have avoided killing Ellie and we would still have our daughter with us today. He will forever believe it is Ok to speed and kill someone because he wasn't punished for it. He has never accepted any responsibility for causing Ellie's death. By allowing the driver to get away with it, the prosecutor has virtually said it is OK to break the law. There were numerous other complaints that I made in my letter. Unfortunately this paper chose not to print it. Yes it was long and yes I guess it was accusatory. But it was the truth. But nobody really wants the truth do they? - just to hear what they want to hear. ,

2 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by PReinecke on 06/22/2012 at 12:40 PM

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