The tragic and long-term consequences of drinking and driving are coming to a heartbreaking end for the family and friends of four-year-old Aurora Sky Brandi Ledoux.
A decision was made to end Aurora’s dependence on life-supports late Tuesday.
In June 2013, Jeremiah Jobb struck the vehicle of Taylor Litwin, 21, and Brandi Lepine, 17. Jobb was going three-times the speed limit and had a blood-alcohol level two-and-a-half times the legal limit. He was sentenced to four years in a federal prison in 2015.
Litwin died on scene while Lepine, who was pregnant at the time, died shortly after giving birth to Aurora after an emergency C-section. She was given to the care of Josephine (Josie) Ledoux, Lepine’s mother.
Aurora has spent her entire life in and out of hospital. She was born with brain damage and extremely premature at 26-weeks weighing only 2.2 pounds. She requires assistance to breathe and eat and was on a host of medication to help control complications such as seizures.
Denise Hodgman, a close family friend, said Aurora’s story portrays the devastating long-term impacts of drinking and driving on families.
“The consequences go on and on and on,” she said. “For Josie and Leo, they have been amazing in how day and night they are just there for Aurora, constantly taking care of her needs. Now that she is passing, what a huge void that is going to leave in their lives.”
Hodgman said the strength of Josephine over the past four years was stunning. She said the consequences of the incident “are so strong that it makes forgiveness all the more challenging,” yet, she said Josie has lived through it all “with a lot of grace.”
Josephine has previously said she forgave Jobb, as it would be something her daughter would have wanted.
Michelle Desbiens became a close friend of Josephine’s after the incident and was by her side quite often for both hospital appointments and comfort since 2013.
“It’s hard,” Desbiens said of the day while holding back tears. “[Aurora] is a fighter and has come a long way.”
Both Desbiens and Hodgman recalled fond memories of their time with Aurora, specifically her smile.
Lepine's cousin Sara Mirasty said it brought her pain to see people make light of impaired driving online.
"People think it is a joke, but it is not a joke and this is what happens,” Mirasty said. “We thought we would have more than four years with her….It is hard for our family … but we are grateful that we had four long years.”
Cheyenne Simaganis echoed her cousin's comments. She said Jobb took her best friend away in “just a few seconds” all because of “one stupid decision.”
“Aurora could have been a healthy little baby running around just like my nieces here,” she said, pointing to two children playing in the Ronald McDonald House at the Victoria Hospital. “But she still gave us four years of happiness and joy.”
Aurora’s pediatrician Dr. Ayaz Ramji described Josephine’s past four years as “a long tragic marathon.” He said her family had showered her with unfathomable love and care.
“I would never have imagined I would be dealing with her four years later, but to counterbalance that straight away, the major tragedy is that I am still dealing with an innocent baby that hasn’t developed and hasn't had a quality of life, in the physical sense,” he said.
“You wish that anyone who potentially drinks [and drives] could spend a day or hour with Aurora to see the impact of a life of a childhood wasted.”
On Twitter: @JournoMarr
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