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Opinion

Grieving mother sees convenience, not conversion

Grieving mother unconvinced that daughter's death weighs on driver's mind

<p>In a 2015 video produced by Southland Church, Shane Recksiedler says he’s found God, but makes no mention of the young woman killed in the 2014 collision.</p></p>

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In a 2015 video produced by Southland Church, Shane Recksiedler says he’s found God, but makes no mention of the young woman killed in the 2014 collision.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/5/2017 (613 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s a long weekend, so Alison Gilbert is hoping she can finally finish the family’s victim impact report in her peaceful place: the lake.

But not even at the lake can she escape what she’s been going through since that Saturday in April 2014, when Shane Tyler Recksiedler drove through a red light at Broadway and Donald and killed her only child, 23-year-old Amy Gilbert. But now that Recksiedler has been convicted of dangerous driving causing death, she’s expected to read her statement at the sentencing, which is scheduled for June 22.

Read it out loud as Recksiedler listens.

That’s if the sentencing goes ahead next month. It depends if the pre-sentence report on Recksiedler is ready in time. Although, in a way, Recksiedler has already prepared a video version of his own pre-sentence report.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/5/2017 (613 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s a long weekend, so Alison Gilbert is hoping she can finally finish the family’s victim impact report in her peaceful place: the lake.

But not even at the lake can she escape what she’s been going through since that Saturday in April 2014, when Shane Tyler Recksiedler drove through a red light at Broadway and Donald and killed her only child, 23-year-old Amy Gilbert. But now that Recksiedler has been convicted of dangerous driving causing death, she’s expected to read her statement at the sentencing, which is scheduled for June 22.

<p>Alison Gilbert and her daughter, Amy, 23, who was killed in 2014 while crossing Broadway.</p></p>

SUPPLIED

Alison Gilbert and her daughter, Amy, 23, who was killed in 2014 while crossing Broadway.

Read it out loud as Recksiedler listens.

That’s if the sentencing goes ahead next month. It depends if the pre-sentence report on Recksiedler is ready in time. Although, in a way, Recksiedler has already prepared a video version of his own pre-sentence report.

The one where he claims to have found God.

It was produced just over a year after the collision that took Amy’s life, although he makes no mention of that event.

Or Amy.

Just as he made no mention of the person he hit or asked about her chances of living when police spoke to him immediately after the collision. But two weeks later — and again on the Sunday after that — Recksiedler would be on his Facebook page, ranting on about some trivial NFL-related report.

It was as if nothing had happened that tragic day less than a month earlier. As if it was just life as usual for the guy from Steinbach.

By May 10, 2014, little more than a month after Amy was taken off life-support and her available organs were donated, Recksiedler would close his Facebook page with an updated profile photo.

It appeared to show Recksiedler and his girlfriend. She presumably was the same one he had confessed to having problems with on the tragic weekend he was intoxicated, according to three of his friends — including the last one he visited who warned him not to drive. That was just half an hour before he drove through the red light and struck Amy as she was walking across Broadway at a green light.

Which brings us to his video made by Southland Church Media and tagged "Baptism Summer 2015." Recksiedler’s is seen speaking alone, telling his life story and explaining why he chose to turn to God.

He begins with how he came to know God as a child in a home with a "strong Christian" mother.

"I grew up with it. But later on in life, I fell into a really rough lifestyle of alcohol, drugs and violence."

Recksiedler goes on to share that on a Saturday in 2011 he was at the church when he said someone — presumably a pastor — declared him to be at "a crossroads in my life."

"He shared with me what he did in his crossroads. Just got my attention that I don’t want to live life like that anymore, you know. I don’t want to live in that painful lifestyle anymore. So I decided to give my life to the Lord."

Ironically, he didn’t arrive at a real crossroads in life — the one he doesn’t mention in the video — until another Saturday, two years later.

In the meantime, it appears, Recksiedler lapsed into his old life. Or, as he goes on to say, "it’s only in the last year that I actually started living, like 100 per cent, my whole heart, not half-heartedly anymore. That’s all thanks to God... my family and friends.

"Things have been really painful and hard lately," he also says in the video. "But I still have freedom in knowing that I’m facing my problems and I’m not running from them anymore."

It’s unclear where Recksiedler’s pain was coming from. He didn’t speak about Amy’s death or acknowledge he had been charged with two crimes, including impaired driving causing death, which he was acquitted of last month.

Alison Gilbert hasn’t seen the video. She hasn’t been able to bring herself to watch it. But she’s seen Recksiedler and his family and his church friends supporting him during the four-day trial that coincided with the third anniversary of the event that led to her daughter’s death.

Alison doesn’t believe Recksiedler really found God. She feels it’s simply a convenient conversion designed to look good on his pre-sentence report.

"Anyone who truly found God," she said Friday, "would have atoned for their mistakes by admitting what they did."

She doesn’t believe he has any remorse, either, at least not for her daughter or her family.

Otherwise he wouldn’t have put Amy’s family through "the hell" of a preliminary hearing, a trial and reliving what happened in the kind of detail no one should have had to hear. She wouldn’t have if Recksiedler had done the right thing and pleaded guilty to what he eventually was convicted of; the lesser charge of dangerous driving causing death.

Alison said she desperately wants to be able to forgive Recksiedler.

"So that I could move on with my life. Because I don’t want him taking anything more from us." But so far, nothing he has said or done has offered Alison a way to do that. Instead, she lives the anniversaries — Amy’s birthday, the day Amy died — and every other morning she wakes up with the trauma and the loss on repeat.

"Groundhog Day," she calls it.

Now it’s Groundhog long weekend.

And Alison has to try again to write the victim impact statement, with all the angry words fit to say before a judge.

The angry words she wants Shane Recksiedler and his God to hear.

gordon.sinclair@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 9:11 AM CDT: Format tweaked.

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