A group of kids took their last firework, which was shaped like a car, onto the road near the Donalda Lamp, planning to set it off in the last fiery celebration at a birthday party.
Instead, the kids – several under 10 years of age – watched as a car careened half-on and half-off the road and in the ditch, before it crashed into the bridge leading to Donalda’s Giant Lamp, demolishing the wooden structure and sending it cracking down into the reflecting ponds.
The driver, a 36-year-old woman, was not hurt, nor were any of the children. She was, however, arrested by Bashaw RCMP, who responded to the 911 calls that came in after the collision.
According to the Bashaw RCMP detachment commander, Sgt. Cameron Paul, the driver now faces charges of operating a motor vehicle at an unreasonable rate of speed. While the driver was issued a blood-alcohol test by responding constables, her blood-alcohol level wasn’t above the legal limit.
However, it was within the warning range and thus she was issued a 72-hour suspension.
The speed limit in Donalda is 30 km/h, Paul said, and he said it’s believed the driver was driving “well in excess of 50 (km/h).”
Fast and careless driving is a problem in some of the rural communities in the Bashaw RCMP detachment area, Paul said, something he noted the police are preparing to crack down upon.
The Giant Lamp itself was undamaged by the two-door car, but the landscaping was seriously disfigured and the bridge destroyed before the car came to a stop.