Jared Cheverie has had enough.
For years he has talked to his high school law class about impaired driving and the impact it has.
Friday night he received a call that a young man, who he coached on Team P.E.I.’s basketball squad at the 2009 Canada Games in Summerside, was dead.
“It was crushing,” Cheverie said Monday.
Jacob (Jake) Simmons, a 27-year-old Point Prim resident, was cycling Friday night when he was struck by a vehicle in Kinross.
The driver of the vehicle didn’t remain at the scene. A 47-year-old Queens County woman has been charged with impaired driving causing death, impaired driving and failing to remain at the scene.
Police said she blew twice the legal limit.
“Something needs to be done. Why is this still going on in Prince Edward Island?” Cheverie said. “Jacob … became the last straw for me.”
He posted his thoughts on his Facebook page on Sunday. A friend suggested if Cheverie started a petition, he’d sign it.
Ok @InfoPEI, @dennyking, @peterbevanbaker @PEILiberalParty, enough is enough. How many people, how many families, how...Posted by Jared Cheverie on Saturday, June 13, 2020
The petition went live Monday morning at change.org. The initial goal was 200, which was met within a couple of hours. It then was bumped up to 500 and then 1,000 by mid-afternoon.
“How many people, how many families, how many parents, children, friends must endure the selfishness of those who insist on driving drunk on Island roads?” he said on Twitter in introducing the petition. “We can deal with a global pandemic but not this?”
He’s calling for change but doesn’t have all the answers. He wants people to sign the petition calling for that discussion to occur in an open political forum and hopes to be able to deliver the petition to the P.E.I. legislature.
“Why can’t we deal with something that is a simple choice that somebody makes?” he asked.
Cheverie, 42, remembered Simmons as a young man who was always there for his friends, teammates and family. He returned to school at 27 to complete another diploma, and Cheverie is sad he won’t see what was next for him.
“It’s hard,” he said. “I know what I’ve been able to accomplish since 27, and Jacob hasn't had the opportunity to do that.”
The accused, whose name has not been released, is scheduled to appear in Charlottetown provincial court on July 13. Police wouldn’t provide further details on Monday.