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Winnipeg parents want passenger of drunk driver charged, say ‘keys were the bullet’

The parents of a young Winnipeg woman who was killed by an impaired driver two years ago are saying they want justice beyond who was at the wheel.

Karen and Doug Reimer, mom and dad to Jordyn Reimer, are taking their push to the Manitoba government in hopes that more charges will be laid, and others held to account.

Jordyn was 24-year-old when she was killed by an impaired driver in May 2022. Now, Tyler Goodman, the man at the wheel, is serving a six-year prison sentence. But the Reimers want one of Goodman’s passengers, who allegedly gave him the keys to his vehicle, to face charges as well.

Click to play video: 'Court sentences Winnipeg man, mother in hit and run that killed Jordyn Reimer'

Court sentences Winnipeg man, mother in hit and run that killed Jordyn Reimer

“In our minds, this is not different than if he had handed him the bullet for a gun, and the difference is that the keys were the bullet and the truck was the weapon. Had he not done that, Jordyn could be here today,” Jordyn’s mom said.

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The couple said criminal negligence charges against the passenger were recommended by police, but the Crown did not pursue them.

“We are not happy with the prosecutor’s office, and their decision not to prosecute the passenger,” Karen Reimer said.

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On Monday, the Reimers met with Justice Minister Matt Wiebe, asking for that decision to be reviewed.

Click to play video: 'Last of victim impact statements heard on death of Jordyn Reimer'

Last of victim impact statements heard on death of Jordyn Reimer

The Reimers’ conversation did not go as expected.

“I think we erroneously thought a decision was going to be made today about the prosecution of the passenger,” Karen Reimer said. “It was an open dialogue just to discuss some specifics of what we want.”

Nonetheless, she said it was a “very positive discussion.”

Jordyn’s dad said, “I think he’s agreed to look into the possibility of an independent review of the prosecution’s decision,” but no timelines have been set in place.

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Wiebe wouldn’t comment on the case specifically, but promised to introduce legislation in the upcoming session to further crack down on drunk driving.

“Manitoba has been a leader when it comes to impaired driving. We want to make sure we’re continuing to be at the forefront, and sending a clear message that we have no tolerance for impaired driving,” he said.

“I want to continue to listen to victims of crime.”

Wiebe said this case is currently before the courts and an appeal has been filed.

Robert Solomon, a retired Western University law professor, said the accountability the Reimers are pushing for can be challenging.

He said the Crown would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the passenger was both aware of the driver’s impairment, and actively influenced him into driving.

“‘I know you’re drunk and you drive home,’ that doesn’t make (them) a party to the offence. There has to be something more than that,” he said.

CEO of Mothers Against Drink Driving Canada, Steve Sullivan, agreed that it’s a legally-challenging situation, even though he considers it morally straightforward.

“I think if you care about your friends, if you care about public safety, you would want to make sure your friends are not driving impaired, not driving irresponsibly and not making those kind of decisions,” he said.

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That’s why the Reimers said they’ll continue their push for justice in their daughter’s death, hoping to stop other families from feeling the same loss.

“It’s never going to be done for us, for Jordyn’s sisters, and our extended family. It’s never going to be done,” Jordyn’s dad said, holding back tears.

“We’re trying to grieve, but we’re also fighting an uphill battle to get the basic justice for Jordyn. It’s not even really justice, it’s about accountability. There is no justice, we’re not getting Jordyn back,” Karen Reimer said.

— with files from Global’s Katherine Dornian

Click to play video: 'More than 100 victim impact statements heard in Winnipeg court on death of Jordyn Reimer'

More than 100 victim impact statements heard in Winnipeg court on death of Jordyn Reimer

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