Organizers hold ninth annual memorial for B.C. Mountie killed by impaired driver

Family and supporters held a memorial in Langford on Sunday for Sarah Beckett, an RCMP officer who was killed by a drunk driver nine years ago.

Beckett was killed by Kenneth Fenton, who had alcohol, cocaine and marijuana in his system when he was evading police on April 5, 2016.

He then struck Beckett’s RCMP cruiser in Langford with his car. Fenton was sentenced to four years in prison for impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death.

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Before the accident, Beckett had recently returned from maternity leave. Beckett left behind a husband and two sons.

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Her friends and colleagues have organized a memorial cruise in her honour every year since the incident. Organizers said she was a fan of cars which is why they decided on a car cruise for her memorial.

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“It’s important to bring the recognition to an officer who was very active in the car community and treated us really well,” said Craig Benbow, a participant in the Sarah Beckett Memorial Cruise. “It also brings awareness to the fact that drunk driving is a bad thing.”

Benbow, who has attended all nine cruises, said the community and camaraderie are what he enjoys most about the events.

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Deanna Jennings, the founder of the Sarah Beckett Memorial Cruise, said the events have raised $160,000 for the fallen Mountie’s family. One of the other goals of the cruises is to spread awareness about drug use.

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“We get to raise awareness for DARE, which is a program that is near and dear to Sarah’s heart,” said Jennings. “It’s making sure we are helping the generations that are coming after us that they are making well-informed decisions.”

Organizers said that next year will be the final memorial cruise, on the 10-year anniversary of Beckett’s death.

“They are wanting to know if year 10 will be like year one, which year one was huge,” said Jennings. “We’re definitely going to try.”

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