Accused drunk driver pleads guilty in fatal crash
Published Friday, July 13, 2012 12:48PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, July 13, 2012 6:38PM PDT
The Surrey woman accused of drunk driving in the crash that killed 22-year-old Kassandra Kaulius last year has pleaded guilty – and plans to campaign for stricter impairment laws, according to her lawyer.
Natasha Warren, 34, did not speak to reporters before heading into Surrey provincial court Friday, where she pleaded to charges of dangerous driving causing death, failure to remain at the scene of an accident and driving with a blood-alcohol level of more than 80 milligrams causing death. A similar charge of impaired driving causing death was stayed.
Her lawyer, Mark Cacchioni, said the accused has wanted to plead guilty since the day of the accident and feels remorse for Kaulius’s family as well as a “heartfelt sense of responsibility for her actions.”
“She never once attempted to slide under anything or wriggle away from anything. She has always only ever wanted to plead guilty to these charges,” Cacchioni said.
Kaulius was killed in a horrific crash on May 3, 2011 while she was driving home from a softball game. Her car was broadsided by a restoration company van, shortly after witnesses say the van sped through a red light.
Cacchioni said that Warren, a criminology student, has written a letter of apology to the Kauliuses and plans to fight for harsher drunk driving laws in Canada.
“Warren actually wants to enter that debate and crusade for bringing a zero-tolerance regime to this country,” Cacchioni said.
The victim’s family, who wept in the courtroom during the hearing, has already been lobbying for vehicular manslaughter charges under the Criminal Code that would allow stronger punishment in similar cases.
The Kauliuses told CTV News on Friday that they were relieved by Warren’s plea.
“Saves us going through a trial,” mother Markita Kaulius said. “But it doesn’t change anything for us. For us, Kassandra is still gone.”
“It’s not nice hearing in court your daughter’s name mentioned as the one being killed. It’s hard,” father Victor Kaulius added.
Warren is scheduled to be sentenced in December.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Michele Brunoro