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Mom of woman killed in Cloverdale crash calls Holubowich sentence 'ridiculous'

Kassandra Kaulius, 22, was killed by an impaired driver two years ago in Cloverdale. Families for Justice is seeking mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of impaired driving causing death. - Contributed photo
Kassandra Kaulius, 22, was killed by an impaired driver two years ago in Cloverdale. Families for Justice is seeking mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of impaired driving causing death.
— image credit: Contributed photo

By Kristine Salzmann

The mother of a young woman killed by an impaired driver in Cloverdale two years ago calls an Alberta offender's sentence "ridiculous."

On Wednesday (Feb. 27), Brenden Holubowich was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to five dangerous driving charges in a high-profile crash that killed four teen boys from Grande Prairie and seriously injured a fifth.

Charges, including impaired driving causing death, had been dropped.

"I personally think it's a ridiculous sentence… For four young men to lose their lives and to only get three years? What does that say for someone who only takes one life?" Markita Kaulius said.

For her, hearing stories of families who've lost loved ones to impaired driving has become all too common.

Kaulius lost her daughter, 22-year-old Kassandra Kaulius, in May 2011 when her car was hit by an impaired driver near 152 Street and 64 Avenue in Cloverdale. The Kauliuses live three blocks from the crash site.

The driver, Natasha Warren, pled guilty and was sentenced to three years and one month in jail followed by a five-year driving ban.

Last April, Kaulius started Families for Justice. The group wants the Criminal Code of Canada changed to redefine impaired driving causing death as vehicular manslaughter, and that those convicted of vehicular manslaughter receive a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

"Since starting Families for Justice, we've heard from many, many, many families across Canada who are outraged by the lack of sentencing given out," she said in a phone interview.

Kaulius is appalled that Warren will be able to apply for day parole in July.

"Sadly, the message being sent out by our so-called legal system is that very little value is placed on a human life," she said. "If you commit the act of murder by either dangerous driving or impaired driving you will not be held accountable for your actions for any length of time."

So far, Kaulius has collected more than 20,000 signatures from across the country.

On Feb. 12, Langley MP Mark Warawa took the petition to Ottawa and introduced it in the House of Commons, and on Feb. 26, Kaulius met with federal MPs from the B.C./Yukon Conservative caucus.

She said the group will continue to collect signatures until the law is changed.

"I just ask that people, if they also agree with us, to go to our Facebook page and print off a copy of the petition, and ask their family and friends to sign it," she said.

— with files from Sheila Reynolds

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