BLIND BAY, B.C. – The mother of a British Columbia gas station attendant dragged to death under a vehicle more than a decade ago, says she is “numb” to learn her son’s killer has died.
Corinne De Patie says she has received a copy of the death certificate for Darnell Pratt, the man who was just 16 when he tried to drive away from a suburban Vancouver gas station without paying in 2005. Pratt hit 24-year-old Grant De Patie, who was working alone and tired to stop the theft but was dragged for several kilometres under Pratt’s stolen car.
Pratt pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to nine years in prison, but that was reduced to seven years on appeal and he was paroled in 2010.
De Patie’s death prompted what has become known in B.C. as Grant’s Law, which requires drivers to pay for gas before they pump it and also sets restrictions on employers whose staff work alone at night.
Corinne De Patie says her family is still struggling 14 years after the loss of her son, and although Pratt’s death certificate doesn’t explain how he died, it amounts to some sort of closure.
“I think I’m a little numb. Just kind of absorbing it all in, and looking at the death certificate and realizing that it’s the actual, issued government document, that it’s true,” she says. “It puts an end to it. This is the final chapter. It has an end.”
De Patie says her son’s memory will live on because the BC Federation of Labour has plans to dedicate a plaque to him. It will detail Grant’s workplace death and his family’s campaign to protect other young workers facing the same risks.