Ching Mac and his wife Louise Whiten were looking forward to spending the rest of their lives in Oakville after spending five years looking for their dream home with a big backyard and nice trails for their puppy, Zack.
But their dreams were shattered by a suspected impaired driver just a month after the couple and their two teenaged boys moved to Oakville from Mississauga.
“This was going to be our forever home and in one instant our lives have been altered forever,” said Mac standing not far from the large memorial of flowers, teddy bears and notes left for Louise and Zack who were both killed on Thursday.
It was at around 2:15 p.m. when Halton Regional Police said the 51-year-old speech pathologist was killed while walking along Lakeshore Road East near Burgundy Drive.
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Police alleged the vehicle was travelling eastbound when it lost control, mounting the southbound curb and striking Whiten and Zack, who were walking eastbound along a path. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
The 58-year-old driver of the vehicle, identified by officers as Kevin Hyde of Oakville, was assessed by paramedics before being arrested and charged with impaired operation causing death and dangerous driving causing death. He was released on a promise to appear back in court on Jan. 12.
Mac said he learned his wife had been killed when she didn’t come home from her walk on Thursday afternoon.
“She didn’t return, so I got worried. I went looking for her and I started to use my ‘Find my iPhone’ app to find her, that’s when I was stopped right there by the police and that’s how I found it,” said Mac, admitting he’s still in shock and in disbelief.
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“I mean how could this happen? This is from a movie, not in my life.”
The family said they want Whiten to be remembered for her passion as a speech pathologist who worked with preschoolers with autism.
“We’re getting messages (from parents) that when they first met Louise, the child could not speak, and now they’re having trouble the child is speaking so much,” said Mark Cashin, Whiten’s brother-in-law.
Cashin called Whiten’s death a senseless tragedy, but said being angry is not going to help them heal.
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Flags have been lowered to half-mast at the ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development, a speech therapy facility for children with autism where Whiten worked.
“My sons and I, we will love her, we will miss her, we will never forget her,” said Mac.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign was set up in Whiten’s memory. Money raised will be used for the post-secondary education of her two sons and to create a scholarship that will commemorate and continue to foster her devotion to helping children.
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