Grief into action

Parents of Surrey victim attend Langley check stop



As police stopped cars and trucks on both sides of the road, Surrey residents Victor and Markita Kaulius stood in the centre of the overpass that carries 204 Street across the Langley bypass and told reporters about the pain of losing their daughter Kassandra to a suspected drunk driver.

It is something beyond words, mother Markita Kaulius said.

“We never, ever expected anything like this to happen to our family.”

Father Victor Kaulius said they were speaking out in the hope of preventing further anguish for other families.

“I don’t want to see another brother, sister, husband, wife, mother, father go through what we’re going through.”

Their daughter, 22-year-old Kassandra Kaulius, was struck and killed by a vehicle believed to have been driven by an impaired driver on May 3.

In the weeks since, the grieving parents have called for minimum sentences for drinking and driving offences.

It is not enough to have tough new laws if no one is punished to the full extent, they said Thursday.

“They’re not strict enough,” Victor Kaulius said.

Complaints that new laws are too harsh were dismissed by Markita Kaulius.

“You come to my house and I’ll take you to my daughter’s graveside,” she said.

“And you tell her this is too tough.”

The parents want a minimum two year driving suspension for a first drunk driving conviction, five years in jail if a drunk driver causes an accident and 10 years if the accident is fatal.

“We’re just two parents,” Markita Kaulius said.

“We need the public to stand beside us and speak up also.”

The Thursday afternoon Counter Attack event was a photo opportunity to promote the campaign against drinking and driving.

Supt. Norm Gaumont, the head of RCMP Lower Mainland district traffic services, was on hand for the start of the 3 p.m. check stop that aimed to surprise people who drank too much for lunch.

“If you’re going to drink and drive you’re going to get caught,” Gaumont said.

“We’re going to be out here. We’re going to get you.”

He described drinking and driving as part of the “big five” list of dangerous behavior police were looking for that afternoon.

The others were intersection infractions (a spotter could be seen at one end of the overpass watching cars as they came through the lights), driving without a seatbelt, driving distracted and speeding.

The RCMP said overall traffic fatalities in the Lower Mainland communities they police are down 20 per cent this year compared to last year.

Impaired driving fatalities are down 50 per cent.

The provincial government has given police an additionalĀ $367,000 to target impaired drivers for the Summer Counter Attack program.

From Friday, July 1 through Sunday, July 3, RCMP in the Lower Mainland issued 1,742 tickets and penalties including 32 90-day driving bans and five impaired driving charges.

The Mounties wrote 758 speeding tickets and impounded 72 vehicles for excessive speeding.

They issued 41 tickets for distracted driving and 53 for intersection infractions.