Residents of Cochrane gathered at Mitford Park for a Saturday night vigil to honour the memory of 17-year-old Brandon Thomas, the victim of a crash caused by an impaired driver. 

The night carried the strong, clear message that drinking and driving kills.

“I can't even stress it enough, drinking and driving just took someone away from us that was so special and we’re never going to get him back,” says Emily Robson, a friend of Brandon’s.

Brandon Thomas was killed Thursday night, when a pickup truck slammed head on into his Subaru Imprezza.  The pickup driver was driving the wrong way down Highway 22.  He was arrested and charged with six offenses, including impaired driving causing death.

Brandon's mother is a single mom.  At Saturday’s vigil, volunteers sold t-shirts dedicated to Brandon to raise funds to help his family with funeral costs.  Despite the cold temperatures, the park was packed.

“This just came out on Facebook, nobody really knew what was happening but there wasn’t a moments hesitation, people are just coming, they’re bundling up and coming on over,” says Shannon Dyck, a family friend.  “They don’t care (about the weather), we’re just going to gather as a community and honour his memory.”

22-year-old Ryan Jordan Gibson of Calgary faces charges in connection to Brandon's death and the injuries another driver received after rolling her vehicle to avoid being hit by Gibson’s pickup.  Gibson will appear in Cochrane provincial court on December 18.