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Family attends Summerside court to represent P.E.I. cyclist killed in collision

Marjolaine Ward, a long-time teacher at École Pierre-Chiasson in Deblois, was struck and killed by car and killed in 2018.
Marjolaine Ward, a long-time teacher at École Pierre-Chiasson in Deblois, was struck and killed by car and killed in 2018. - Contributed

Dangerous driving causing death case against Matthew Clifford Gaudet set over to April 4

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

Friends and family of Marjolaine Ward made a sombre journey to the Summerside courthouse Thursday morning.

“I owed that to her. I’m her family here,” said Tania Simard, who considered Ward her best friend.

Ward, 60, was killed after being struck by a car on Aug. 27, 2018. She was riding her bicycle along Route 12 in Kildare Capes. The driver did not stop to help.

Matthew Clifford Gaudet, 31, of Kildare Capes has been charged in connection with the crash. He’s facing charges of dangerous driving causing death and failing to stop and offer assistance at the scene of an accident

Gaudet’s case was called briefly Thursday morning and then adjourned until April 4. He was not present but was represented by his lawyer.

Simard wanted to be in the courtroom to represent her friend. She and Ward were teachers together, with neighbouring classrooms, at École Pierre-Chiasson in Deblois.

Neither are from P.E.I. – Simard is from Quebec and Ward was from New Brunswick – but they bonded here. Losing that connection was traumatic for herself, the students and the community, said Simard.

“I’m trying to keep the best of her inside of me. I’m trying to keep living life the way she would have wanted me to. She was living life to the fullest.”
-Tania Simard

“I’m trying to keep the best of her inside of me. I’m trying to keep living life the way she would have wanted me to. She was living life to the fullest.”

A memorial installed for Marjolaine Ward, who was killed as she cycled along route 12 in Kildare Capes in 2018.
A memorial installed for Marjolaine Ward, who was killed as she cycled along route 12 in Kildare Capes in 2018.

 

Jim Sloan is Ward’s brother-in-law. He and his wife, Pierrette, travelled from Moncton, N.B., to attend Thursday’s proceeding. They don’t intend make that journey for every court date, but they want to do it as much as is feasible. 

It is difficult to be reminded of that terrible day their loved one died, he said, but they, too, want to keep her memory present by representing her. They also wanted to visit the Traverse family, who came to Ward’s assistance as she lay dying on the road.

“We’re just hoping the justice system will do the right thing,” said Sloan.

Ward’s daughter, Suzanne Beaudin, lives in Quebec and is holding off on attending court in person until the case progresses.

“It’s never easy. Every time there is a court date, it opens the wound again,” she said in a telephone interview.

It is difficult to have to watch from such a distance, she added. 

“You feel helpless. But you know – there is nothing we can do. I think we just want justice at this point.”

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