Sunday, December 14, 2008

In quest for the truth

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mothers who wants a law to be followed

In quest for the truth

On December 3rd, 2008 I received an email from a friend who introduced Jim Lavoie as a person who could help us make our way through the press conference and do some coaching with the media. He is an experienced journalist who has considerable experience organizing press conferences. Up to this day we have not met but only through e-mails and phone calls. Ana and I were looking forward to meeting him.

The day of Wednesday, December 10, 2008, Isabelle left her home in Bathurst, N.B. I packed my van with all the personal items for my son Daniel so that I can share what my son loved to do and honor him with pride.


I left at 10:30 to drive alone to Moncton. Ana was at school for half the day at the Moncton Community College. I had picked Ana up in Moncton at 2:30 p.m. Ana had a review week at school and she missed the review on Thursday and had to write an exam on Friday morning.

We drove to Fredericton and arrived at 5:30 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Queen St. across from the Legislature Building.

When we got settled in our room we waited for our facilitator, Jim Lavoie who helped organized the press conference. Jim was very organized by reserving our rooms and contacting the media and reading all the facts on guidelines and policies and regulations and acts of the school to help us so that he could understand what we wanted to do. That evening we met with Jim and prepared the agenda for the press conference. Jim guides us about what a press conference is about and what to expect from it. Ana and I were very nervous to do this. We are not public speakers. We did this for a reason.


We believe that we have to go public for a Coroners inquest and that a petition and phones call were not enough to be heard. Ana and Isabelle worked on preparing ourselves with Jim’s help for the press conference at 9:30 a.m. We had not eaten till late in the evening. We wanted this to be a successful press conference. I worked on my opening speech until 3:00 a.m. I had changed it so many times. I wanted it to be powerful and the citizens of Canada to know who I am and the kind of family life I once had. Ana prepared herself and she knew in her mind what she wanted to do. She expresses herself only at the time of the press conference with notes to guide her to what she needs to say. That night before the press conference was very emotional. We didn’t sleep much and didn’t know what to expect on Thursday morning.

On Thursday morning December 11th 2008 we were up and ready by 7:00 a.m. This has not been a normal 47 weeks since that terrible tragedy that took the lives of our sons. Today was a year ago that both our boys went to their Christmas prom. I had taken pictures of Daniel and Javier in Daniels home. They were about 12 friends all excited and happy about their night of dancing and being together. I took group pictures and pictures of Daniel alone with his friends. Ana was shopping that very day looking for dress pants for Javier. They all looked so handsome in their new attire.

Today we are preparing for a press conference. Putting personal belonging of our boys in front of our table to show that how wonderful our boys are and how proud we are of them. We both miss and love our boys so much. Today is a day for us mothers to honor our boys and not let their death go in vain. Our boys died that night for no reason. Every one of those boys and the adult had a life to live. Nobody should have to live with the question “what if”? Ana and Isabelle have the right to full disclosure. If we didn’t voice our opinion now we would regret that we didn’t do anything to prevent such a tragedy because we believe that a Coroners inquest would prevent a tragedy of this magnitude from ever happening again. There is enough evidence for a Coroner’s inquest to change the system. Safety is the most important issue here and that the students should not be overlooked or ignored. This was a "tragedy" that should not have happened.

A coroner's inquest does not award compensation or lay criminal charges. It makes recommendations to make changes. There is a lesson to be learned from this tragedy.
At 9:30 we started our press conference with a video of the scene on YouTube.


After the video Jim Lavoie did an opening statement and read a bio of Ana and Isabelle.


After that Isabelle read her speech between 4 to 5 minutes.


Isabelle felt confident reading it.

Isabelle was determined to speak loud and clear so that everyone in the room could hear.
Isabelle says she took strength from her son who she knew would want his mom to fight for changes. Isabelle felt at that time strong and determined to get her message across.

Ana was next.


Ana was nervous but at the same time she knew what she had to do. Ana too felt strong and felt a wave of support behind her. She got up and took her sons diploma to show that he was an honor student and that sport played a major part in his life. Ana felt like crying but was determined to keep her emotions aside. Ana felt that she did her best to get her message out to the media. While we both did our speech there was not a sound in the room every word we said was heard. Jim opened the floor to the reporters for questions. All our concerns were addressed.

There were a few questions.

The reporters were very sincere and supportive and our message was sent out immediately.


We had a phone interview with Todd Battis of the CBC news from his office at 12:30 from our conference room.

We also had a phone interview with Steven Murphy from CTV at 1:30. Jim was there to support us.

Both times Ana and Isabelle were confident but still nervous to send the wrong message. We are not professional public speakers. The whole day was very emotional and draining but also gave us a sense of comfort and accomplishment.

We had not eaten all day but it was not our priority. We went back to our rooms and packed up all our belongings. We found out through the Environment of Canada weather station. A Warning Alert was being broadcasted.

We felt we had to leave immediately to Moncton which is a 1 ½ hour drive. We left Fredericton at 3:34 to avoid driving in hazardous weather conditions. Ana and Isabelle said our Good bye to Jim Lavoie our supporter and organizer for this event. Jim told us that he was very proud of us and that we will be in touch.

On our way back to Moncton we listened to a radio station that had our speech on. We started to cry because we felt that the media heard our cries and put it out on the radio for everyone to hear. Our drive home was exhausting since both of us never had very much sleep or food for two days.

We watched the news and we didn’t recognize ourselves on the television. Our appearance changed so much in the last 11 months. We could hear our voices and at the same time hoping that the public would understand why we did a press conference requesting a Coroner’s inquest.

This is so important to us.

To our families and friends and for the future leaders who travel to and from extracurricular activities.

We are voicing ourselves to Keep the Children Safe. This could happen to any family. Laws need to be enforced.

Guidelines and policies are not a law that needs to be followed as we found out through our experience with the Department of Education.

We received an email from Jim Lavoie. This is what he wrote “I was just thinking of you two and I came back to send you an e-mail. I have said this many times to you today but I will say it forever I am so proud of you two. Somewhere in heaven or right around you, beside you, I picture two proud sons hi-fiving each others for all you guys did and are doing!

I met you under the worst scenario and yet you handled everything with grace and poise. You are an inspiration to me and there is going to be wave of support behind you. You both are such good people and I feel through you two that I know your sons. On a level that I can't explain I feel such a bond to the both you as if we are old friends.

Let stay in touch and I mean anytime you want to talk about anything, even if it is just to talk to me cause your bored or to talk to someone outside of your circle in Moncton or Bathurst. Lets keep in touch by email and every once in awhile we will talk on the phone.”

Jim Lavoie made us feel very comfortable. He is a sincere person and gave us all the help he could possibly give to us for our voice to be heard. Ana and Isabelle thank you for your support.

Last year today December 11th 2007 our boys were all dressed up to go to their Christmas
Prom. Next month January 12, 2009 will be a year since we talked, heard, or touch our sons. A year has gone by without a hug or a kiss and the words, I love you mom. We miss our son’s everyday. Life will never be the same.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Welcome to

Welcome to This website is dedicated to the memory of Javier Acevedo and Daniel Hains, two 17 year old basketball players who were killed in a tragic passenger van crash along with six others on January 12, 2008.

Click here to see YouTube videos of our Press Conference that was held on Thursday, December 11, 2008 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Fredericton, across the street from the New Brunswick Legislature.

We Want a Coroner's Inquest

We, Ana Acevedo and Isabelle Hains, are the mothers of Javier and Daniel. We are making an impassioned plea to the Premier of New Brunswick, Shawn Graham, the Minister of Public Safety, John Foran, the Minister of Education, Kelly Lamrock, the Minister of Transportation, Denis Landry, the Minister of Justice, TJ Burke, and our own MLA, Brian Kenny, all of whom sit at the Cabinet Table, to encourage Greg Forestell, Acting Chief Coroner, Department of Public Safety, to call a Coroner's Inquest into this terrible tragedy.

You Can Help Us : Sign Our Petition

You can help us by signing our Petition and / or by contacting Greg Forestell and Hon. John Foran by email, letter or phone.

Meantime, as we wait for a decision, we have created this website in the hope that it becomes a source of reliable information on this terrible tragedy and that our calls for a Coroner's Inquest do not go unanswered.

Ana Acevedo and Isabelle Hains

Why We Want A Coroners Inquest

Isabelle Hains and Ana Acevedo

On January 12th, 2008 the Bathurst High Phantoms, a High School boy's basketball team were returning from a game in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada when the van they were traveling in slammed into a tranport truck shortly after midnight, killing seven players and an adult. Since that time a number of facts haven been identified that could have prevented this tragedy.

It is our hope as citizens of a concerned community that a Coroner's Inquest be conducted immediately in order to shed light on the events and actions of this unforgettable evening. The public needs to know exactly what happened that night, why it happened and exactly what will be done to ensure it will never happen again.

We are asking for, and need your support to make the Government of New Brunswick listen to our cries and take action by calling for a Coroner's Inquest into the deaths of these eight individuals.

We have started a petition that we are circulating around the province. You can help us by contacting the Acting Chief Coroner, Gregg Forestall and the Minister of PUblic Safety, Hon. John Foran, to tell them that you want to see a coroner's inquest into this tragedy.

Their contact information is below:

Greg Forestell, Acting Chief Coroner
Department: Public Safety
Argyle Place
Floor: 3
P. O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB
E3B 5H1

Phone: (506) 453-3604
Fax: (506) 453-7124
EMail Address:

Hon. John Winston Foran, Minister of Public Safety
Solicitor General
Argyle Place
364 Argyle Street
Fredericton, New Brunswick
E3B 1T9

P: (506) 453-7414
F: (506) 453-3870

Constituency Office: Miramichi Centre
86 Henry Street
Miramichi, New Brunswick
E1V 2N2

Email : and / or

If you have any questions, please contact us !

Press Coverage

What follows are just some of the news articles about the call for a Coroner's Inquest into the tragedy that took eight lives on January 12, 2008. First, you can see YouTube video clips of our press conference taken Thursday, December 11, 2008 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Fredericton, across the street from the New Brunswick Legislature.

Part One of Press Conference: Isabelle Hains Reads from a Prepared Statement

Part Two of Press Conference: Isabelle Hains Reads from a Prepared Statement

Part Three of Press Conference: Ana Acevedo

Part Four of Press Conference: Question and Answer Period with the Press

December 12, 2008: Telegraph Journal
Mothers take quest for inquiry to capital

December 12, 2008: Fredericton Daily Gleaner
Grieving mothers plead for crash inquest

December 12, 2008: The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Moms want inquest into van crash

December 11, 2008: CBC Television News at 6 pm, New Brunswick

December 11, 2008: CBC Radio National News at 6 pm

December 11, 2008: Prince George Citizen, Prince George, British Columbia
Grieving mothers plead for coroner's inquest into New Brunswick van crash

December 11, 2008: Cape Breton Post, Sydney, Nova Scotia
Grieving mothers plead for coroner's inquest into New Brunswick van crash

December 11, 2008:
Grieving mothers plead for coroner's inquest into New Brunswick van crash

December 11, 2008: CBC NB
'I pray to God' for a coroner's inquest into Bathurst van crash: mother

December 11, 2008: CTV
Grieving moms want coroner's inquest into van crash

December 10, 2008: Canadian Press
Mothers who lost sons in N.B. van crash demand coroner's inquest

December 10, 2008: La Presse Canadienne
Tragédie de Bathurst: deux mères de victimes réclament une enquête du coroner

December 9, 2008, Northern Light
Parents' views will count in van inquest decision

December 4, 2008, Telegraph-Journal
Parents' views will count in van inquest decision: Safety Chief coroner 'aware' that some Bathurst families want further investigation of tragic accident

December 4, 2008, Moncton Times Transcript
Van crash inquest considered

November 25, 2008: Bathurst Northern Light
No word yet on coroner's inquest into BHS tragedy

November 19, 2008: Fredericton Daily Gleaner
More parents call for inquiry into Bathurst tragedy

November 19, 2008: Moncton Times Transcript
Parents want inquest into fatal van crash: Mother of one of seven basketball players killed says school rule changes needed to 'make travel safe for future children'

November 18, 2008: Bathurst Northern Light
A conclusion but no closure

November 18, 2008: Bathurst Northern Light
RCMP decision draws mixed reaction from parents

November 17, 2008: Telegraph Journal Editorial
Hold an inquest into Phantoms van crash

November 16, 2008: Miramichi Leader
Blame's natural, but decision's right

November 15, 2007: Montreal Gazette
Father calls for inquiry into Bathurst van crash

November 15, 2008: Telegraph Journal
Mother joins group calling for inquest into van crash

November 14, 2008: CBC
Father calls for coroner's inquest into Bathurst van crash

November 14, 2008: Miramichi Leader
Case closed on Bathurst van crash

November 12, 2008: CBC
'They just can't get away with that': Moms want charges laid in Bathurst van crash

November 12, 2008: CTV
Charges ruled out in New Brunswick school van crash article and CTV News Video

What follows are articles that followed the release of the RCMP Accident Reconstruction Report on July 28, 2008

July 29, 2008: CBC
Van in Bathurst tragedy would have failed inspection: RCMP report

July 29, 2008: National Post
Seatbelts might not have saved lives in Bathurst van crash: Transport Canada

July 29, 2008: CBC

N.B. Public Safety to review motor vehicle inspection system

July 28, 2008:Transport Canada Collision Investigation Report (PDF format)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

About Us

Ana and Javier Acevedo on his 17th birthday, December 30, 2007.
Ana and Javier Acevedo on his 17th birthday, December 30, 2007.
Isabelle and Daniel Hains, Christmas 2007, the night of the Bathurst High School Christmas prom.
Isabelle and Daniel Hains, Christmas 2007, the night of the Bathurst High School Christmas prom.

Ana Acevedo Bio
Ana Acevedo was born in El Salvador. She immigrated to Canada 20 years and came to Bathurst where her sister had settled. Ana has five children, three girls and two boys. Javier was her youngest son and lived with her at their home in Beresford.
Ana completed her grade 12 education at the New Brunswick Community College in Bathurst in 1992. Later she took a course in Professional Cooking at NBCC in Moncton.

Before the tragic death of her beloved son, Ana worked seven days a week at three different jobs. She was a nanny from Monday to Thursday during the day and in the evenings she worked as a custodian at the medical clinic in Beresford in the evenings. Javier used to come with her every night to work after he finished his practices and was a big help. On the weekends, she as a cook at Danny’s Inn.

Ana used to read non-fiction because she liked true stories about real life. She used to like listening to classical music and latin music but now she doesn’t have the heart for it anymore. When she listens to music at all, she’d rather hear the kind her son Javier liked, especially rap.

Since the death of Javier, Ana has changed her career. She is taking a Human Services Program in Moncton. Her goal is to become a grief counselor. First however, she is compelled to advocate for change to the laws so that a tragedy like this can never happen again.

Isabelle Hains Bio

Isabelle Hains was born and raised in Bathurst, New Brunswick. She graduated from Bathurst High High school in 1977 and married Allan Hains in 1984. They have two children; Clark born in 1988 and Daniel in 1990. Until the tragic death of Daniel, Isabelle worked for Service Canada in Bathurst.

As the boys grew up, Isabelle worked flexible hours so she could be at home with them. She had a good life. She hugged her children every day and told them that she loved them. Both her boys were huggers and not afraid to show their affection. She was a proud mother of two boys and the house was open to all their friends.

Isabelle used to enjoy listening to music of the 70’s and reading fiction novels. She was a real Mrs. Fixit and when there were repairs to do around the house she did them. She always volunteered her time to help others to do projects and had a healthy balance between work, family and friends.

Daniel was growing up and developing to be a strong young man who was going to be a good citizen.

Now Isabelle’s life has turned completely around. Instead of fiction, she reads self-help books on the grieving process and is educating herself to be knowledgeable about the policies, guidelines and regulations as well as the legal avenues that are connected with the tragedy that took her son’s life.

Today Isabelle dedicates herself full time to achieving justice for her son Daniel by fighting for changes to the laws of New Brunswick.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Join Me toDemand a Coroner's inquest

This is the picture of the T-Shirt Ana made after the RCMP Report came out in November, 2008.

The T-Shirt says.

Join me to demand a Coroner's inquest.
Our children deserve better than a borderline safety inspection.
Recommend higher standards for children transportation to and from extracurricular activities.
Protect your children it could happen to you.

Contact Us

If you have any comments, suggestions or want to help, please contact us by email at:

You also can write to us at:

Van Angels
c/o 204 Lakeside Ave.
Bathurst, NB
E2A 2S7

Thank you for your support!

Ana and Isabelle
Mothers of Javier and Daniel

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