RCMP PATROL CAR
Jodi Lidstone, 31, from Emerald area, mother of three dies when car leaves road early today, hits tree
NEWTON – Distracted driving on icy roads has claimed another life on Prince Edward Island.
The driver of the vehicle, identified as Jodi Lidstone, a mother of three, was the only person in the vehicle when it left the road about 5:40 a.m. today. She was a shift manager at a Tim Hortons in Summerside.
The 31-year-old woman from the Emerald area was killed when her vehicle veered off Route 111 and struck a tree.
Though its investigation into the incident is ongoing, the RCMP said Wednesday afternoon that distracted driving combined with the icy road conditions of the morning are believed to have caused the crash.
“The one we had today involved black ice conditions and also the use of a cell phone - and that resulted in a death,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Ken Spenceley.
This is the second fatality on Island roads this week. Both were in Prince County and RCMP said icy roads played a part in both incidents.
Diane M. Arsenault of Palmer Road was the victim in the first crash which happened Monday. The 59-year-old Palmer Road resident died in a collision on Route 14 in Christopher Cross, just outside Tignish.
The accident today in Newton is the second fatility in that stretch of road this year.
Kevin Dale O’Halloran, 45, of Lady Fane, and his son Johnathan Kevin O’Halloran, 24, of Summerside, died in a single-vehicle crash in that same area in late September.
There have been 21 fatalities on P.E.I. highways to date in 2015, according to RCMP.
Half of those deaths have occurred in Prince County, which means Staff Sgt. Ken Spenceley, the district commander, has probably had the files cross his desk at some point.
It’s frustrating, said Spenceley, because many of those deaths have been preventable, involving either alcohol, speed, inattentive driving, not using a seatbelt or some combination of all those factors.
“That’s an important number and it’s a number we don’t want to see go higher,” said Spenceley.
“It’s tragic for the families, and I have empathy for the families, but we have to use that also to alert people that this is a real issue.”
“You’re moving a machine at a high rate of speed, and if it goes off the road, tragedy can ensue - so anything we can do to try and drive home the message that can be prevented through self-monitoring while driving, to reacting to snow conditions, to slowing down, it helps.”
Spenceley’s warning comes as two women were killed in separate incidents on Prince County roadways, on Monday and Wednesday.
2015 has been the deadliest on Island roads in almost a decade.