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Put a price on the life of my son, Premier Wynne

Monday, March 03, 2014   by: Staff

Carol Caputo, mother of Marc Caputo whose life was tragically lost in an automobile collision in November, 2007, has agreed to share an email she sent to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne about the issue of making the Trans Canada Highway a divided highway all the way across the province.

Ms. Wynne: I write this email today, proud as myself and my family survived yet another Christmas without our son and brother, Marc Caputo.
On November 24, 2007, Marc and his girlfriend were traveling back from Sudbury, Ontario to North Bay.
Both Marc and Melissa were third year Nipissing University students studying to be teachers.
My husband and I had also traveled to Sudbury that weekend to watch our youngest son play in a high school basketball tournament.
Who knew when we kissed them goodbye and Marc waved from the window yelling, I love you guys and I will see you in 12 days, that that would be the last time we would ever see either of them.

There was a patch of bad weather outside of North Bay (12 km to be exact) and Melissa got caught in the tire tracks of the vehicle ahead of her and was unable to fight the weight of the slush.
Their vehicle plunged across the two lane highway and they were hit by an oncoming transport.
We lost them both that night. My family has never been the same.

I write today because of a comment that you had made in a letter with regards to our highways in Northern Ontario and I quote "However, the volume on this section of the Trans Canada Highway doesn't justify the expense".
I challenge you to put a price on the life of my 20-year-old son.
Put a price on a young man that wanted to teach religion and a young woman who wanted nothing more than to teach youngsters in elementary school.

I have attached a couple of photos of Marc and Melissa.
You can see by their smiles that they were full of life. They were full of promise.
They would be with us today, if the highway they were on had four lanes.

I woke up on the morning of November 24, 2007 with a perfect family, a husband and wife that still loved each other after 25 years of marriage, one son in his Masters of Engineering in a southern Ontario university, another a promising student wanting to be a teacher, and our youngest son, just in Grade 10 and went to bed that night with our lives changed forever.
And yet, "the volume on this section of the Trans Canada Highway doesn't justify the expense". I beg to differ Ms. Wynne. 

If just one life can be saved, and one family not go through what we had to go through, the expense is justified. 

I will wake up tomorrow morning, but life will never feel the same.
That accident is the last thing I think of every day before I go to bed and the first thought in my mind when I awaken in the morning. 

How many more of our children have to perish before an expense is justified?
Yes, the population here in the North is not as large as in the South, and yes the geographical landmass is huge compared to South.
But, we love our children with the same amount of love that folks do in the South. We send our children out on highways that are not safe but are forced to because of costs. 

We need the highways to have four lanes and be separated.
We do not deserve less than what others take for granted in Southern Ontario.
Ms. Wynne, I would not wish the sorrow I feel every day on anyone.
The heartache I feel each day is so very difficult to bear. Please don't punish us any longer for living in Northern Ontario. 

It is time to reconsider your stand on our Northern Ontario Highways. Our children's lives depend on it.


Carol Caputo 


Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
saultbie25 3/3/2014 1:40:08 PM Report

Good Job on telling it like it is!!

We are in the north! Not in a 3rd world country. We expect the same quality of snow removal as anywhere else.
Me Myself an I 3/3/2014 1:52:04 PM Report

Yes a divided Highway all across NO would be great, and could potentially save lives. But when people are told how much it will cost to do so they will change their minds. Not to mention all the negotiations that will have to take place with the FN communities. Just look how long it took to get the "bypass" done here
maltese 3/3/2014 1:54:55 PM Report

I am thinking this is hwy 69 or 11 (didn't check the map). Irregardless, this is a great tragedy. I use divided hwy's whenever I can. When your vehicle gets caught up in the slush on the road/hwy, you lose control of said vehicle. Sounds like the hwy seriously needed to be plowed as well. This may also have prevented this tragedy. I am so happy however, that you got to spend some quality time with these two special people in your lives before they were taken away from you. The North gets so neglected as far as the roadways are concerned.
vixen 3/3/2014 1:58:36 PM Report

It is a matter of reasonable alternatives and priorities. Just imagine how many miles of proper roads could have been built for the money wasted on changing the hydro plant --over a Billion--to save the Liberals at election time

Premier Wynne and her Liberals just don't get it
janetleigha 3/3/2014 1:59:53 PM Report

I really hope you get a response to your well-written, heart felt email. I'm the mother of 3 children, with 1 of them living in Sudbury and I can not even imagine what you go through daily. Stay strong.
Pakadeva 3/3/2014 2:01:28 PM Report

This has brought me to tears & this family is so right! It is the only route to get to the south, southeast parts of Ontario & the traffic volume is ALWAYS high any time I travel it. From the Soo, the safest route is on USA soil to go to Southern Ontario. They have nice highways in areas of low population, maybe for SAFETY reasons? They have stricter rules for large vehicles, for safety reasons. Why is Wynne & everyone preceding her, so detached from the province they are trying to lead? The NORTH is the most beautiful part of the province & we have lost lives of tourists trying to travel safely to see it. God Bless this beautiful family & may you live to see safer highways in the North & as she said, we love our children & our area just as much as southerners do.
ThinkAgain 3/3/2014 2:07:16 PM Report

I respect the letter and do say: We have the money for it but they put it in there very own pockets, it will never happen. Simply put to many over paid politicians - I have problems trying to justify anyone of there salaries.
Sad to see this happen when it can be fixed. Lets drop 50% of the government and kill the senate only then things will change.

hockeypucker 3/3/2014 2:10:45 PM Report

We all really miss Marc he was such a great guy
mr.monty 3/3/2014 2:13:40 PM Report

Nobody ever thinks of the long term economical impact, having a 4 lane may take 10+ years to complete but like she said if it was your child's life could you justify the time and exspence? How much money is wasted yearly by the government? I bet it's enough to build a hyw 10 times over! Take a drive to Sudbury and see the small towns that look like ghost towns, a good hyw would mean more tourism for the north, possible better gas prices and not to mention a SAFE passage for people!!! Instead people drive through the US which gives away income to local northern motels and gas stations! Not a quick fix by any means but well worth the future gain!
puff ball 3/3/2014 2:13:51 PM Report

Very well written and my heart goes out to you. I cannot begin to imagine the loss of a child. My son travels the hwy every day to finish his 4th year at university and I pray every day for his safety. I hope the Premier responds to this letter and takes a stand for the divided hwy.
sconway4774 3/3/2014 2:22:18 PM Report

To put it bluntly, HWY 17 from essentially Ottawa to the Manitoba border is a joke. This is supposed to be our national highway and it's embarrassing not to mention dangerous. The sheer volume of goods that travel that highway everyday and how much more efficiently it could be done via a freeway would return the investment in no time. Factor that in with the story of this woman's letter, it's really a no-brainer. It's sad though as we are never a priority over the GTA and Southern Ontario.
mr.monty 3/3/2014 2:28:10 PM Report

Kingpin88 I agree with you 100% but accidents do happen and I'm sure there has been a time when you yourself have had a close call on black ice or on a slushy road, it happens to everyone even if you have 30 years driving experience! Would you rather have a close call into a transport at 100 kmph or a ditch???
superior87 3/3/2014 2:35:10 PM Report

It is certainly an extremely moving and touching story, but I do not think emotional stories should factor into a decision like this. It should be studied and determined if it is an appropriate step to take, like any other government expense. People complain about high taxes all the time without knowledge of the potentially heartbreaking stories that could have influenced the rise in said taxes.

So it is a tragic story, but this should not be an emotional decision.
Tag33&1/3rd 3/3/2014 3:05:51 PM Report

It has been planned as long as I can remember--was always supposed to be divided all the way. It should have been done as hundreds upon hundreds of lives have been lost on this stretch of 17 through the past 30 years.
Pakadeva 3/3/2014 3:13:40 PM Report

Wynne should be sent a copy of this thread, might help in some decision making!
Right of Centre 3/3/2014 3:17:04 PM Report

How many cancelled gas plants does it take to build a divided highway, Ms. Wynne?
riverman 3/3/2014 3:20:59 PM Report

@ superior87

I disagree with you. The safety of Canadians should be paramount in any decision-making process undertaken by lawmakers and politicians. To spend whatever it takes to make a major highway safe for those who are FORCED to use it because there are no other routes to take is not an emotional decision. It is a logical one. Sadly, too often it takes the heartbreak of the families and friends of victims like Marc and Melissa to bring us to our senses.
clumsybird 3/3/2014 3:38:45 PM Report

It would be a good Idea for the government people to take a ride between Sudbury and Ottawa and they will see that the highway is just as bad as the 129 going from Thesslon to Chapleau.It is a disgrase and very dangerous.
steelworker 3/3/2014 3:42:20 PM Report

If the Libs would quit pissing away money to buy votes in Southern Ontario this highway could be done. Wynnes' mantra: Toronto first, the rest of Ontario is where?
teqsun 3/3/2014 3:49:46 PM Report

Until I moved to Sault Ste Marie I had no clue that the TransCanada in Northern Ontario was a bush road. Certainly from Ottawa to the Atlantic Ocean the TransCanada is a 4 lane highway that is a pleasure to drive on. Even secondary highways, while single lane are still an improvement over our stretch of TransCanada from Ottawa to the Manitoba border. While population may not factor into the equation, insurance settlements due to fatalities and permanent injuries claims should speak volumes.
lp670-4 Super Veloce 3/3/2014 3:54:10 PM Report

R.I.P Marc. Forever a saint, I never knew him but was attending school at St.Basils with his brother when this happened. The following week the school held a mass in the gym and retired his football jersey. I agree completely. i travel the highway frequently and it can get bad sometimes.
happy camper 3/3/2014 3:54:54 PM Report

How much highway could have been built with the gas plant money that was wasted? Answer me that Primier Wynn
steelworker 3/3/2014 4:09:35 PM Report

All is calm, relax people. Orazietti should announced 2 million to fix Second Line and that should be good enough. Remember to vote.
3rd times a charm 3/3/2014 4:17:49 PM Report

an emotional reaction shouldn't change things? Are you freaking kidding me? What if it were your child?

I've been travelling between Barrie and Thunder Bay for the past 30 years and due to highway traffic, north of Parry Sound MUST be 4-laned immediately...since it took over 20 years to go from Port Severen to Parry Sound.

I have a camp, just past Pancake Bay and transports travel by at high speeds, night and day...traffic doesn't stop, it just keeps increasing...

Time to put some money into northern Ontario and stop wasting our money by building the Muskoka's in the middle of Toronto--THAT money could have 4 laned the highway all the way to Wawa ffs...

Wynne is just another freaking idiot with an opinon--like an asshole, everyone has one, however it doesn't make them right.

Gurpy 3/3/2014 4:25:56 PM Report

The Liberals are GUILTY of more than most will ever know!
It`s a terrible thing to loose a child! This tragedy could`ve been prevented!
whatstheproblemhere 3/3/2014 4:39:43 PM Report

It is extremely expensive to build highways in the rugged terrain of Northern Ontario... if it was easy and cheap they would all be 4 lanes by now.

And accidents happen on multi-lane highways too... just look at that pile-up on the 400 last week... and there are quite a few roadside memorials along the (mostly straight and flat) I-75 through Michigan too.

The guvernment can buy way more votes in the GTA by promising subways so our highways will always be a low priority.
SooSoo 3/3/2014 4:54:03 PM Report

I would much rather pay 10 cents more for a liter of gas for a divided highway than for a subway in Toronto, but we are in the north and our politicians could care less....
Hunter101 3/3/2014 5:04:34 PM Report

This letter really hits home. Premier Wynne, what have you to say?
Moonshiner 3/3/2014 5:14:26 PM Report

For every mile of road...theres two miles of ditches...
razeandcrash 3/3/2014 5:19:31 PM Report

Not to take away from the loss of life that occurred by any means and I am sorry for your loss no parent should ever have to bury a child. But making the highways divided and 4 lanes will not stop accidents and people from losing their lives. its no different then the big accident down south recently. there was numerous warnings about the road conditions and people still drove like it was summer. Any time you step into a vehicle and hurl it down the highway in bad weather or not there is a chance something could happen. They unfortunately veered into oncoming traffic, but they could have veered the other way and hit a rock cut just as easily. People tend to forget were not invincible and unless you bubble wrap yourself and never leave your bed accidents do and will continue to happen no matter what precautions or measures you take. I think if more people used common sense most of these weather related road tragedies could be avoided. Once again not saying in this incedent common sense wasn't being used. but we need to realistic and put emotions aside people still die on 4 lane highway accidents will always happen as long there are people on the roads.
shirle 3/3/2014 5:21:11 PM Report

So sorry for your loss. No one can even
imagine the loss of a child unless it happens to them..
My son travels the the highways every day to get to work..
I pray each day he gets there safe. regardless of the expense of a divided highway you cannot measure the cost of a safe highway against losing one life
What is wrong with our government. Where have they got there heads.. ???
"I Wonder"

A worried Mom in the Soo...
halrick 3/3/2014 5:22:50 PM Report

I agree with the writer, I too lost someone on this highway, my Mother. More effort needs to be done to four lane our highways in Ontario. Why should we have to have the worst highways in Canada. For everyone sake the highways that link Ontario to the rest of Canada should be 4 laned.
OTHERight 3/3/2014 5:38:43 PM Report

4-Lane HWY Construction Ottawa to Kenora - or wherever the divided highway begins again to the west.

If contracted to Ontario Company

= Jobs for Ontario citizens that support families

= sales tax revenue on spent wages earned by construction workers

= increased flow of goods and services

= potential increase in tourism dollars into the north

= increased Corporate tax revenue from earnings of all businesses touched by construction activity and the commercial interests along highway path

= Personal tax revenue paid by wage earners

= safer roads = fewer injuries and fatalities

= fewer insurance claims

= piece of mind for travellers and those who have family and friends travelling

Stack all of the above against the gross cost of improving the TCH from Ottawa to Kenora.

You might then be closer to talking about real net cost and real net value of such a project.

Over the years, some of the most prosperous in our history, It begins to seem like this is not about money...but simply the WILL to share a piece of the pie with Northern residents.

All the best to the Caputo family.
Jimssm 3/3/2014 5:43:20 PM Report

If someone can get a committment from one of the other political parties regarding 4-laning, I might vote for them...

... but you won't get it.

It's too expensive.
JustAGuy2 3/3/2014 5:43:57 PM Report

I love how people blame the government for everything. And to SooSoo most people won't pay ten cents extra for a litre of gasoline, they will just keep going and spending tax dollars across the river and keep blaming the government.
northernmale 3/3/2014 5:57:55 PM Report

How much longer will rail service be around to move things to southern and northern Ontario? The writing is on the wall. With them closing only means more transports, and more accidents. Even if they cant afford to four lane it all , why not add a lot more passing lanes. Another thing is lower the speed limit lower then other traffic for transports. Also enforce it. One of my pet peeve's is when transports come to passing lanes and one pulls out to pass the other and takes the use of the hole passing lane to pass.
AlwaysAWinner 3/3/2014 6:02:53 PM Report

This woman's letter was fine until I read this

"We need the highways to have four lanes and be separated."

sorry but to put the blame on a non-divided highway is just wrong. Diving a highway doesn't stop accidents and tragedies from happening. Sometimes the conditions are bad and drivers can also be at fault. To blame the death on your son on divided highways is seriously wrong, I get someone lost a son but this isn't how you deal with it. There are so many variables at play, too many to put the fault on one single thing.

it's so sad for people to blame government and representatives for an accident like this. accidents happen, that's why their called accidents.
JB55 3/3/2014 6:09:37 PM Report

Our family recently lost a beautiful young man in his first year of college in Ottawa. He was travelling back to St Joe for reading week just a few weeks ago. I travel the highway from Ottawa to the Sault several times a year and it is not getting better. John Rhodes was working hard in the early 70's to get the 4 lanes going on the TransCanada through Northern Ontario but unfortunately he passed away too soon to continue the battle and not a single politician since has been able to hold the strength this man had in his vision for the North... the NDP damaged Ontario and the Liberals haven't a clue on how to fix it ... Wynne has no clue on traffic across the corridors of Northern Ontario - she fly's! She needs to have her eyes opened and if that means emotional stories to force someone to listen then so be it. No, decisions are not made on emotions, but the decisions to initiate and move forward are always started that way.
sharebear 3/3/2014 6:10:49 PM Report

mrs caputo you are so right so sorry for your loss especially when our tax dollars go to highways other than our own :(
riverman 3/3/2014 9:00:04 PM Report

@ Alwaysawinner

You are incorrect. Divided highways lower the number of injuries and fatalities that result from collisions. When all vehicles on a roadway are travelling in the same direction, the odds of fatalities resulting from collisions are decreased.

Divided highways reduce head-on collisions. The impact of a vehicle hitting another vehicle that is travelling in the same direction is less likely to result in a fatality than if the impact came from a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction. Not only is that basic kinetics, but it has been irrefutably proven in numerous studies, the results of which can be found from performing a simple Google search. Here is a quote from one of them: "The most recent national highway safety statistics show that undivided two-lane highways have 10.25 times more fatalities than divided four-lane highways." Ten and one quarter times MORE fatalities than on divided four lane highways.

They're called "accidents" because they are preventable, and the odds indicate a four lane divided highway would have prevented the tragedy that befell Marc and Melissa and everyone who knew and loved them.
riverman 3/3/2014 9:08:39 PM Report

And @ razeandcrash:

You prove the point of the reduced risk of injuries and fatalities on 4 lane divided highways by mentioning the 100+ car pile-up (including, I believe, 15 transport trucks) that occurred recently near Barrie during a whiteout. How many people died in that most recent pile-up? NONE. Not only were there no fatalities, but there were not even any major injuries.
Verbatim 3/3/2014 9:12:43 PM Report

Build a divided highway across canada would be a good idea

1....creates job for a very long time
2....creates paychecks for ppl to spend boosting the economy
3....taxes earned for the government
4....each province can foot some of the bill while the rest comes from federal coffers
its a win win situatuion for many ppl...the reason why they dont do it....because it makes sense
razeandcrash 3/3/2014 11:31:10 PM Report

Yes you are correct riverman there were no deaths in that incident. I was referring to that incident for the fact it could have been avoided if people drove to the conditions. Thank you for pointing out the obvious but missing the point I was trying to make completely. You can post statistics all you want I never stated one was safer than the other. All I stated was people still die on 4 lane highways, which is true. I also stated how most accidents can be avoidd by using common sence. However completely missing my point, I do apreaciate your use of actual facts and statistics in your comment.
sportsfan17 3/4/2014 6:35:46 AM Report

Not going to get in on the debate this time. There seems to be a general consensus.

Rest in peace Mark and Melissa, you were both fantastic people!
Shannon575 3/4/2014 8:02:24 AM Report

Our family lost 3 family members by Hurkett near Schreiber 8 years ago. They were ages 27,19, and 17. Our family was completely devastated...and it's also something that has haunted me over the years.

After travelling that highway-I was disgusted with the conditions. I have also become afraid to travel on them.

Southern Ontario may have more in population, but we have terrible terrible weather up here in the north. Doesn't that count for anything?

I cannot believe the people who have lost their lives on these highways. It's time for something to change!
EmmaAbby 3/5/2014 8:56:49 AM Report

Melissa was my dear friends daughter. She was a smart, vibrant young woman with a very bright future ahead of her. She and Mark were going to get married one day and probably have children, just like you and I. A dream that was taken away because of the almighty dollar, the root of ALL evil. That dreadful moment of hearing the news about these two beautiful young people will forever be etched in my mind, it was numbing and not real and I for one, as well as you all after reading this story, can not imagine what it must be like to lose a child to such a horrific accident that COULD and SHOULD have been prevented by a simple fix. Albeit expensive, one can never, ever put a value to a life! Melissas mom worked with myself alongside of a great team of educators of children with special needs. I was the worst day of my life walking into the school that day and my emotions took over instantly and still to this day I remember hearing someone sobbing uncontrollably and realized that it was me! Now magnify that 1 million fold and understand what Melissa and Marks parents felt upon having a police officer show up at your door at 11 o'clock at night to tell you that your son or daughter has been killed in a car accident. And now to have to relive it as fresh as the day they heard it because of such a comment by a POLITICIAN who can't justify the expense of putting in a safety network for the people in Northern Ontario. She has not only negated the death of Melissa and Mark, but also negated the value of people, taxpayers, in Northern Ontario. Melissa and Marks young lives should not be in vain, nor should the pain that the people who knew these two beautiful children be. Premier Wynne you should be ashamed of yourself and so too the people within your cabinet! Get the job done and stop with the political crap that there is not enough money to justify the value of a "life"! RIP Melissa and Mark you are together in heaven in what God has promised us is our eternity. God Bless.
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