Family photos will never be the same again for the Greenard family in Port Alberni after a senseless tragedy on a local highway late Friday afternoon.
“He would always text me at five o’clock when he was leaving saying he was leaving for the day, on my way home and then that was it,” Sean Greenard told CHEK News Tuesday.
James Greenard, 42, would always be back to his Port Alberni home at 6:05 p.m. from his job at Harmac in Nanaimo. But on Friday night, he never returned.
Sean, his partner of 14 years, knew there had been an accident near Coombs and began fearing the worst as the hours went by.
Numerous calls to his cell phone went unanswered.
“At about 11 o’clock the police knocked on my door to let me know,” she added. “The wait was horrifying. I just felt sick the whole time because I knew there was no way that if he was OK he [wouldn’t] have contacted me.”
The crash happened on Highway 4 between 4A and Highway 19 near Coombs on a bend in the road.
The two vehicles were heading in opposite directions around 5:50 p.m. and police say a suspected impaired driver in a pick-up truck crossed the centre line, hitting James’s small Chevrolet Aveo, killing him.
“And one of my questions to the police was, was alcohol a factor or drugs and he said yes, alcohol was,” Greenard said.
Port Alberni’s James Greenard, 42, loved to fish and had trips planned for his kids, his wife says. (Submitted)
It’s a bitter irony because James had just celebrated two years of being clean after a battle with addictions and the couple had also stopped drinking alcohol.
It’s a tragedy that Mothers Against Drunk Driving is all too aware of.
Comox Valley Chapter President Leslie Wells almost lost her daughter Molly Burton to a drunk driver on Comox Road in Comox 10 years ago when she was hit and left to die in a marsh before being found several hours later.
“You know, I come across so many people who have lost loved ones like what happened on Friday and it’s absolutely a tragedy, and it’s 100 per cent avoidable,” said Wells. “Plan ahead. People are going to drink but plan your ride ahead of time before your decision-making is impaired.”
The BC RCMP Highway Patrol is now investigating the crash and did not reply to a CHEK News request Tuesday for information on possible criminal charges against the driver of the other vehicle.
Sean says she wants the driver to face consequences.
James had been working at Harmac for less than a year as a piperfitter, a job Sean said was his dream job.
In the meantime, she now has two young children to raise without a father, a 10-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son.
“I’m having a really hard time imagining the future without him. You know, we had Disney Land trips and Hawaii in the future, all the things we didn’t get to do with our kids yet. He loved to fish and our son loved to fish with him.”
A GofFundMe has been set up and has already raised over $33,000 for the family.