Kaulius family calls for tougher drunk driving laws

The driver involved in a crash that claimed the life of Kassandra Kaulius two weeks ago should have her licence revoked immediately for two years, the Kaulius family said this week.

Family members appeared at a press conference at RCMP headquarters in Surrey Tuesday afternoon, bringing with them an urn containing Kassandra's ashes and mementos including a softball glove, photos and medals.

Twenty-two-year-old Kassandra Kaulius was returning home in her older-model BMW from a softball game in Cloverdale May 3 when a woman, believed to be drunk, ran a red light in a van, smashing into the BMW at the corner of 152 Street and 64 Avenue.

Kaulius' mother Markita said Tuesday the only thing she saw of her daughter after the crash was her blood-soaked purse and the softball jersey she was wearing.

She spent Mother's Day selecting the clothes her daughter would be wearing when she was cremated.

"I pray to God none of you ever have to experience this," said Markita, also a victim services worker with the RCMP. "Because, what I thought it was, was 1,000 times worse. Nobody should have to go through this."

The 34-year-old van driver was given a one-day driving suspension and then three weeks to "get her affairs in order" before she was handed a one-year prohibition from driving by B.C.'s Superintendent of Motor Laurel MiddelaerVehicles.

Markita said her daughter didn't get 21 days to get her affairs in order.

"There needs to be consequences if you (kill) an innocent victim," she said.

The family wants an automatic two-year driving suspension for someone arrested for impaired driving. And if that person is impaired and involved in an accident, the family wants a minimum of a five-year jail sentence.

"If a person is impaired causing death, then they should be charged with vehicular homicide," Markita said.

If people knew tougher laws were implemented and strict sentences meted out by the courts, they would think twice before getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking, she said.

Joining the Kaulius family Tuesday was Laurel Middelaer, whose four-year-old daughter Alexa was killed three years ago to the day by a drunk driver.

"The issue of impaired driving is a nut that needs to be cracked," Laurel said. "And the reality of what your seeing in this family today, is the reality that four families face every day in Canada."

She said the solution is like a three-legged stool, including education, enforcement and the application of the law.

The first two, in this country, are outstanding.

"The part of the stool that is causing everything to be off balance, is the application of justice," Laurel said. "There is a void  there, and that is the area that needs to be addressed."

The Kaulius family is circulating a petition for changes in law which will allow judges to hand out more meaningful sentences.


Also see The Leader's editorial.


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