AFTERMATH OF MURDER
Mom seeks tougher sentences for drunk drivers
The death of her daughter by a drunk driver was the catalyst that began a mission for Markita Kaulius to change Canada’s laws to be tougher on those who kill people while drunk behind the wheel.
In 2011, her daughter Kassandra died after a driver travelling more than 100 km/h slammed into her car in Surrey, disintegrating the vehicle.
She was just three blocks from home when she died and her ashes now sit in the family home.
Kaulius talked about her family’s loss and life after this tragedy as part of a new video series called Aftermath of Murder: Survivor Stories, coinciding with National Victims of Crime Awareness Week. The series can be viewed by scanning the QR code on this page.
Since her daughter’s death, she’s been an advocate for people affected by drunk drivers by starting a support group for other parents.
Too many people are killed or injured by drunk drivers, Kaulius said, adding she recently met with federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay, asking him to impose five-year minimum sentences for drunk drivers who kill people.
“Down in the states we’re looking at 10 to 30 years of a sentence,” she said. “Here we’ve seen sentences of $1,500 fines, $2,000 fines, 90 days to be served on weekends. Ridiculous sentences, these are homicides.”
Kaulius said she’d like to see Canada have a vehicular manslaughter charge, as is done in the U.S.
Making things worse, she said, was the fact the woman responsible for her daughter’s death will probably be free soon, dragging up more pain for the family.
“You can apply for parole after six months and we went to a parole hearing in November of 2013 and thankfully the parole board did deny her parole at that time,” Kaulius said. “But she will come up for parole again later this year ... she will probably be released then.”
If you or someone you know has been affected by homicide go to the B.C. Victims of Homicide website at www.BCVOH.com for resources and information on support groups.
Aftermath of Murder Survivor Stories is produced by Brent Stafford, Shaky Egg Communications Inc. and 24hrs Vancouver columnist.