Slain girl's family fears a short sentence for drunk driver
The parents of slain four-year-old Alexa Middelaer say justice will not be served if the drunk driver convicted in her death is given a lenient sentence.
In July, Carol Berner was found guilty of two counts each of dangerous and impaired driving in the May 17, 2008 crash that killed little Alexa. She will learn her fate Monday morning.
The day before hearing her sentence, Alexa's parents Michael and Laurel visited the Village Montessori School in Crescent Beach, a spot that holds special significance for them.
"This is where Alexa attended her very last day," Laurel said.
After Alexa's death, a pink dogwood tree was planted and a granite bench installed in her memory. Laurel says the monument is "a real touch point" for her family.
The couple worries a sentence of three to five years -- out of a maximum of 25 -- will be recommended for Berner, which they say would send the wrong message.
"That's really hard to hear as a family because this is criminal behaviour that killed Alexa," Laurel said.
Alexa and her aunt were struck by Berner's car while they were feeding a horse by the side of the road in Delta.
Berner initially blamed the accident on car defects, but later admitted to an undercover police officer who was posing as a new friend that she had drank several glasses of wine before getting behind the wheel.
Before she is sentenced, the Middelaers will read victim impact statements they hope capture the magnitude of their loss.
"We have chosen to really put ourselves out there and try to be strong and make changes," Laurel said. "But the reality of our day-to-day life is we eat the loss of Alexa every day."
"We see the loss of innocence in our son Christian. We are broken people and we are trying to rebuild."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Mike Killeen