Jul 12, 2012 - GUILTY PLEA EXPECTED FROM ALLEGED DRUNK DRIVER WHO KILLED SURREY'S KASSANDRA KAULIUS

The mother of a Surrey woman killed by an alleged drunk driver last year said the fact that the driver is expected to plead guilty in Surrey Provincial Court on Friday is cold comfort.

“I’m not sure how I feel about it, I’m kind of indifferent,” Kassandra Kaulius’ mother Markita said Thursday. “It’s not going to change anything.”

Her daughter was killed on May 3, 2011 when she was hit by an oncoming car as Kaulius was making a left-hand turn with the light through the intersection at 64th and 152nd St.

The 22-year-old university student and softball pitcher was driving home from a game at about 10 p.m. and was just minutes from home when she was hit. She died at the scene.

Witnesses reported the then 34-year-old female driver, who was driving home from a Canucks celebration in a company van, apparently sped through a red light. After the accident, she fled the scene and hid from police in the bushes.

Natasha Leigh Warren was charged in April 2012 with dangerous driving causing death, impaired driving causing death, operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of more than 80 milligrams causing death and failing to remain at the scene of an accident.

Warren was released on $5,000 bail in April. She is due to plead guilty at 9:30 a.m. in Surrey Court Friday.

The family intends to be in court to witness the plea.

Kaulius, who had won college athletic scholarships, was living at home at the time of her death, studying to be a teacher at the University of the Fraser Valley. She was also working two jobs to support herself and playing and coaching softball for the Surrey Storm.

The tight-knit family, mother Markita, father Victor, and siblings Miranda and Nicholas have struggled with her loss and turned their focus to lobbying for harsher penalties for drunk drivers.

Markita founded the activist group Families for Justice last year and now has 30 B.C. families who have lost loved ones to drunk driving joining her fight for stricter laws.

“Everyone agrees that the laws need to change,” Markita said Thursday. “We’re speaking up for so many families.”

The group is lobbying for an immediate two-year driving ban for drivers pulled over and found to be impaired, mandatory minimum sentences, the creation of a vehicular homicide charge and additional mandatory two-year sentences if an impaired driver flees the scene.

A petition addressed to the federal government that has been endorsed by the group now has more than 7,500 signatures. View the petition here.

Source: Global News BC

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Last updated on: 2012-08-17 | Link to this post