Lindsay Hauck feels let down and disgusted over a justice system that was supposed to protect her and her late friend, Erin Smith.
Hauck is “heartbroken and devastated” over the loss of her close friend and her own life that she had built.
She is angry and frustrated that nobody in charge will give her any answers.
Hauck is a former Vernon nurse who was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her co-worker and friend, Smith, as the pair enjoyed a coffee break from their shift at Vernon Jubilee Hospital in the early hours of Oct. 23, 2014. As the pair drove through a green light northbound on 32nd Street, Smith’s car was blindsided by a minivan that ran a red light on 30th Avenue, driven by Lori Victoria Vance.
After nearly three years, Vance pleaded guilty to charges of impaired driving causing Smith’s death, and impaired driving causing bodily harm to Hauck. Vance was sentenced to three years for Smith’s death, and one year – to be served concurrent – for causing Hauck’s serious injuries. Vance was given a six-year driving prohibition upon completion of her jail term.
Six of eight charges against Vance were stayed by Crown counsel.
“The system has let us all down except (Lori) Victoria Vance,” said Hauck in a four-page statement to The Morning Star.
“Three years in jail, and losing her licence for only six years. Six years of no driving for killing somebody, then she’ll get her licence back.
“What the hell kind of world do we live in that that’s an acceptable sentence for what she did?”
For nearly three years after the accident, said Hauck, she “sat back silently as this nightmare dragged out longer and longer while some part of me was holding out hope that in the end, she (Vance) would be held accountable for what she had done and the justice system would do what I thought it was in place to do.”
Besides Vance, Hauck directs her anger at Crown counsel.
“They talk about wanting to save us the burden of a trial but what about the burden the last two-and-a-half years while they all did nothing?” asked Hauck. “Don’t we deserve an explanation? We all asked ‘why are you taking so long to press charges? We were told it was because they wanted to make sure they charged her with everything possible so she was held accountable and that they wanted to build a strong case.
“They made us all think this was actually being taken seriously and that there was going to be serious consequences for this woman.”
For nearly three years, Hauck said she has “not been able to find any peace or even properly mourn the loss of my amazing friend.”
“I have built up a wall inside myself in order to avoid feeling the loss I experienced and in building that wall, I have the ability to enjoy my life the way I once did,” she said.
In writing her statement, Hauck said she is “trying to find my own way to whatever peace I can,” because that is what her friend Erin would want.
“Erin wouldn’t want me to spend the rest of my life angry and full of hate because that’s not how Erin lived her life, but I needed to have my truth heard,” she said.
“For two-and-a-half years, this has plagued every second of my life. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I go to bed. I have lost parts of who I am, some of which I will never get back and some I am desperately still trying to find.”
Hauck praised RCMP Victims Assistance and the police themselves “for all the hard work they did in this case.”
She also thanked the community at large.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this. I’m extremely blessed to have had all of you there beside me.
“I know how lucky I am to be here today and I don’t take my life for granted, but Erin wasn’t lucky and it breaks my heart that this is the way it was all handled. Erin deserved so much more than this.”