Natasha Warren, who pleaded guilty in the alcohol-fueled Surrey crash that killed Kassandra Kaulius last year, should spend three-and-a-half years in jail and be prohibited from driving for five years after her release from jail.
In his closing statements Monday afternoon, Crown prosecutor Crichton Pike said there was no excuse for Warren’s lack of judgment on the day Kaulius died and that Warren engaged in “deliberate, intentional risk-taking behaviour.”
He said her actions were not unlike someone walking down 152 Street, drunk, shooting a handgun. In this case, the bullet was in the shape of a van, Crichton said.
The fact Warren (pictured below with a friend) failed to stop and help – or use her cell phone to call 911 – elevates her culpability, he added, calling her fleeing the scene “self-serving and callous.”
Defence lawyer Mark Cacchioni will deliver his sentencing arguments Tuesday morning, but said he’ll be seeking a federal sentence of two years and one month, plus a lengthy period of probation, for Warren.
Warren was driving a van northbound on 152 Street in Surrey on May 3, 2011 when she slammed into a BMW driven by Kaulius at 64 Avenue. Court heard Monday Warren had consumed a bottle and a half of wine prior to getting in her vehicle. She ran a red light and was going 103 km/h when she hit Kaulius, 22.
Eight victim impact statements were read in court Monday. In the afternoon, Kassandra’s older sister Miranda took to the stand and outlined her grief over losing her best friend in the crash, “which feels like a murder to me.”
She said her family will never be the same.
“I worry every day that my parents will die of a broken heart,” Miranda said, adding she wouldn’t be able to tolerate any more loss in her life.
She was eight weeks pregnant with her second child when Kassandra died. She said her eldest son asks about his aunt, wondering why someone hit her with their car, while Miranda’s youngest son will never meet Kassandra.
Both she and brother Nick said they read an apology letter from Warren. It was neither sincere or heartfelt, they said, and they could not forgive her for taking Kassandra from them.
“I’ve always been taught to forgive and move forward, but at this time, I can’t,” said Nick.
Victor Kaulius wept and wiped tears from his face as he described living with the “ultimate horror.”
“In mere seconds, my heart and my soul were pierced a million times,” said the dad of hearing of Kassandra’s death.
He said he can hardly console the rest of his family because he’s in so much pain himself.
Mom Markita Kaulius also attempted to express her extreme grief, at one point standing and addressing Warren directly.
“You didn’t offer my daughter any assistance,” Markita sobbed. “You left my daughter to die in the street.
“Miss Warren, you took away her hopes and dreams for the future.”
At one point, Markita held up a tattered, black nylon jacket that medical workers had to cut off Kassandra.
“That’s all I have left to hang on to,” she said.
Sentencing may be delivered before month’s end.