May 21, 2009 - WOMAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY FOR KILLING GIRL, 4 [Alexa Middelaer]

The woman charged in the death of four-year-old Alexa Middelaer of Ladner, B.C., will not stand trial until 2010.

Carol Berner, 56, did not appear at Surrey Provincial Court Thursday, but her lawyer, Richard Hendry, entered a plea of not guilty to the charges of dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm, and impaired driving causing death and bodily harm.

She will stand trial at Surrey Provincial Court on May 31, 2010. It is scheduled to run over four weeks and hear evidence from dozens of witnesses.

Alexa and her aunt were feeding horses along 64th Street in Delta when a vehicle, allegedly driven by Berner, left the road and hit the pair on May 17, 2008. They were medivaced to hospital where the girl died. Her aunt was seriously injured.

Alexa's grandparents were in parked in their car nearby, which was also struck. They sustained minor injuries.

The girl's family expressed their disappointment Thursday that the case will go to trial and will not take place for a year.

Earlier in the week, hundreds gathered at a White Rock pub to honour the first anniversary of the little girl's death.

Speaking after a video montage played of the little girl on Sunday, Alexa's mother, Laurel Middelaer, said their cause is double edged.

"We will honour our daughter and make the necessary changes that, number one, cause a deterrence, and number two -- more importantly -- inspire people to raise the standard of social responsibility," she said.

Alexa's parents aren't waiting for the courts for resolution -- they want a solution to the rising number of impaired driving deaths.

"It is an opportunity for all of us to look at these types of collisions as a pure consequence of some really poor decisions," her father, Michael Middelaer, said.

The family wants tougher sentences for drunk drivers, but is also pleading for people to be more responsible in the first place.

"We know the perils of drinking and driving," Lauren Middelaer said.

"I think we need a shift -- that it is a bigger problem. In B.C. last year it was three fatalities per week."

Alan Lamb of BCAA's Traffic Safety Foundation says it's a chronic problem in the province.

"They injure 60 people a week in British Columbia," Lamb said. "So it's time we took a stance on people who continue to drink and drive."

Source: CTV News Vancouver


Last updated on: 2015-04-06 | Link to this post