“Her sudden death has crumbled our family’s world”

The family of a woman who died in a hit-and-run in Ridgetown last month said coping with the loss was hard, and it was a daily experience.

On October 19, 2022, in broad daylight, 66-year-old Wendy Clark of Howardtown was hit by a passing vehicle as she got out of her car on Ridgetown’s Main Street, but the suspect vehicle took off.

Clark’s daughter, Rachel Mattsson, gave an emotional speech at the National Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims organized by Chatham-Kent police on Wednesday.

Matteson said her family’s world was shocked when they found out that Clark had been killed, and expected life would get harder as Christmas approached and the untimely death of her loving mother.

“Her sudden passing has shattered our family world. I think we’re just starting to feel it now. It’s been very, very hard. My mom was a brilliant woman and we’ve lost that now,” Mattson said.

Mattssson noted that her 86-year-old grandmother was particularly distressed because she had to bury her daughter.

Matteson said she was relieved that police quickly apprehended a suspect and that well-wishers at the scene of the tragedy came to help her mother.

“Somebody got arrested and later I found out who it was lying on the street with my mum, who I went to high school with. So, I was relieved to know she wasn’t alone. Then someone came and tucked her in, It was my mom’s co-worker. Those were all positives for me, and that’s how I got through at least the first month,” Matteson said.

Mattson said she was devastated when she found out her mother had passed away.

“I was in shock when I found out she had been hit by a car and the driver was leaving. I literally screamed in the ER waiting room, ‘What do you mean? ! ’ It was unfathomable, really, and I can say that arresting as quickly as they did changed our journey. I could go to the hospital and sit next to my mom and see the positive side of things and not worry about it. So, I’m very, very grateful for that,” Matteson said.

Clark’s son-in-law Peter Mattsson said it was really sad because he and his wife Rachel had moved back to Chatham-Kent to be closer to family.

A 38-year-old Ridgetown man was arrested and charged with failing to remain at the scene of the accident causing bodily harm, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and two offenses of the Highway Traffic Act.

Acting Sheriff Jason Hurd said the investigation was continuing and charges could be escalated. With the help of good surveillance footage and excellent witness testimony, the arrest was made quickly, he said.

Held said the toughest job for a police officer is telling the family that someone they love has passed away because officers feel for family members too, but it’s easier when they have some answers for grieving family members Some, as was the case with this death.

Chatham-Kent Police said it was important to take a moment to stop and reflect on all those affected and suffering by serious and fatal road crashes.

“The pain of losing a loved one in a collision changes the lives of family and friends. First responders, police officers and medical professionals who deal with the post-traumatic effects of road crashes every day are also disproportionately affected by these collisions,” police said.

National Road Traffic Victims’ Day of Remembrance is an annual day commemorated in memory of those killed or seriously injured on Canadian roads.

Police say many collisions are preventable and result from drink driving, speeding and/or aggressive driving, distracted driving or not wearing seat belts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *