The family of a Surrey woman killed by a drunk driver nearly four years ago is struggling with the fact the driver is being freed from jail today (Thursday) after serving two years of her three-year sentence.
Natasha Warren, driving while intoxicated, slammed into Kassandra Kaulius’ car in May 2011 and fled into some nearby bushes before being arrested.
Kaulius, 22, was killed instantly.
Warren pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and failure to stop at an accident and was sentenced in December 2012 to three years prison, followed by a five-year driving ban.
She has now received her statutory release – automatically granted to all offenders not serving life sentences after they’ve served two-thirds of their time.
Victor Kaulius, Kassandra’s father, says Warren’s freedom marks yet another difficult and emotional day for his family.
“A lot of things are brought back,” he says. “Our main focus is the two-year sentence… it’s laughable. How does this deter anyone?”
Warren (left) drank a bottle and a half of wine before getting into her work van the night of the fatal collision. Kassandra was heading home from a softball game in Cloverdale and was waiting to make a turn when her BMW was struck by Warren at high speed at the corner of 152 Street and 64 Avenue.
The Kaulius’ acknowledge the sentence handed to Warren is more than most impaired drivers who kill someone in Canada receive, but they still have a hard time knowing she’ll move on with her life, while Kassandra will not and the family is sentenced to a future without her.
Victor Kaulius says he and his wife Markita continue to push for changes to Canada’s laws.
They want to see a minimum five-year sentence for offenders who kill someone while driving impaired, as well as language amendments so the crime is called vehicular homicide/manslaughter (instead of impaired driving causing death.)
Victor says he doesn’t wish Warren harm.
“What’s happened, happened. It’s not going to bring Kassandra back.”
But he hopes Kassandra’s preventable death leads to change and helps save lives so no other family has to endure such loss.
According to Parole Board of Canada documents, Warren must have no contact with the Kaulius family, is not to enter a bar or liquor store, cannot own or drive a car and can’t possess, purchase or drink alcohol.
She was denied parole in late 2013 over concerns she might re-offend, but is now assessed at low risk to re-offend.
The Kauliuses formed Families for Justice in 2011 to provide support for those whose loved ones have been killed by impaired drivers, and to advocate for changes to the Canadian justice system. For more information, check http://on.fb.me/1yn2o6o