One of Cindy Devine’s prized possessions will join a bevy of local rock stars as they take the stage for “Devine Thursday,” a concert fundraiser honoring the 35-year-old St. Thomas mother.
Devine’s life ended in tragedy when he was killed in a two-vehicle collision on the afternoon of October 2, 2020.
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She was driving down Highbury Avenue on her way to work at her parents’ cross-stitch shop when she collided head-on with a van near Glanworth Drive in London’s southern tip.
Emergency crews arrived to find an accident scene on fire. According to media reports at the time, eyewitnesses attempted to rescue a conscious Devine from the debris, but were prevented by heat and flames.
Devine was pronounced dead by first responders, leaving behind her husband Richard, children Dakota and Paige, and stepchildren Aries and Brook.
Tyler Besterd, the other driver involved, was sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Last week, Besterd was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, followed by a nine-year driving suspension after the 24-year-old pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol causing death.
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Hoping the tragedy never happens again, friends, family and volunteers launched a Canada-wide campaign called Fire Extinguishers for Cindy, which aims to pass Cindy’s Law, a bill to make fire extinguishers mandatory in all the vehicles.
Devine Thursday will be raising money just for that and organizer Bob Reid hopes it will also provide a sense of healing for the audience as well as those on stage.
Reid was one of the first people on the scene on the day of Devine’s death, as he drove to the crash site on his way home from St. Thomas.
He tells Global News that he couldn’t tell what had happened when he first arrived before noticing a car in a ditch near a roadside cornfield.
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“I got there as fast as possible and that’s when I met Cindy. She told me that she couldn’t move her legs, that they were immobilized,” Reid said.
“It was weird for me to jump into a ditch and when I looked at it instantly it reminded me of my wife – red hair, tattoos – and it was just horrible.”
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Reid’s band Bobnoxious will be joined by the Brad Gibb All Star Band, Heart Attack Kids, Brother Time and Aaron Allen for Thursday’s fundraising concert at Eastside Bar & Grill.
He plans to play on Devine’s guitar, something suggested to him after he confided in friends that he couldn’t write songs after the fatal 2020 accident.
When he pitched the idea to Richard, Devine’s husband, his response was, “That would be awesome.”
“I think if I can play Cindy’s guitar, wow, I have a hard time saying that, that will probably help a lot,” Reid said.
“I’ve played it a couple of times now… it’s very difficult to say the least.”
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Christine Rozon says that music was a big part of her sister’s life, so Devine Thursday is a fitting way to honor her memory.
“She had written songs about her daughter Paige and after her son Dakota was born, she was starting to get back into that and unfortunately that’s when she died,” Rozon told Global News.
Rozon says progress is being made for Cindy’s Law, but there is still a lot of work to be done. This includes finding an MPP to sponsor the bill and establishing a petition through the Ontario legislature.
The campaign has been able to distribute about 900 fire extinguishers thanks to donations, but Rozon says there are many more that they haven’t been able to keep track of.
Rozon says anyone looking to host an event in support of the cause should connect with her and other organizers through the Fire extinguishers for Cindy Facebook page.
“It’s going to be great to see Bob playing his guitar up there. I think unfortunately he’s going to stir up some memories, but ultimately the point of this is to raise awareness,” Rozón said of Thursday’s concert.
“For people to understand how important it is to have fire extinguishers in vehicles, but ultimately not to drink and drive.”
Doors open for Devine on Thursday at 8 pm at Eastside Bar & Grill on Hamilton Road.
Tickets are $10 at the door and donations are also being accepted. accepted online through trellis.org.
— with files from Matthew Trevithick of Global News
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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Concert In Honor Of Cindy Devine Takes The Stage In London, Ontario. Thursday – London – World News In Spanish