The woman who killed Surrey’s Kassandra Kaulius last year while drunk and speeding at the wheel of a van has been sentenced to three years and one month in prison and is banned from driving for five years following the completion of her sentence.
Natasha Warren, 35, gave a small smile and wave to her mother and other family members and friends as she was led by sheriffs into custody. Just prior, her mom whispered “oh my God” and held her head in her hands upon hearing her daughter’s jail sentence.
Outside the courtroom, the Kaulius family and friends hugged and wept. Kassandra’s mom Markita Kaulius said she would have liked to have seen a longer sentence imposed, especially since Warren could be eligible for parole in a year.
“I’m not sure how I feel,” said Markita. “Every day is painful for us because we’re without Kassandra.”
She said she still wasn’t convinced of Warren’s remorse.
“To us, actions have always spoken louder than words,” Markita said. “Is she remorseful? I’m sure she’s remorseful she got caught.”
In July, Warren, a criminology student who wants to become a youth probation officer, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death, impaired driving causing death, and failure to stop at an accident.
Warren was intoxicated – twice the legal alcohol limit – when she was driving northbound in a company van at 64 Avenue and 152 Street on May 3, 2011 when she slammed into a BMW being driven by 22-year-old Kaulius, who was on her way home from a softball game in Cloverdale.
Warren ran from the accident and was later found hiding in a nearby treed area. Witnesses said she reeked of alcohol and was slurring and staggering.
Earlier this month, Warren apologized in court, saying words couldn’t express how sorry she was for causing the death.
“If I could take it back, I would trade places with her (Kaulius) in a second,” said Warren, vowing to speak out about the perils of drinking and driving.
Her lawyer said she sent another letter of apology to Vancouver newspapers on Thursday.
The Crown was seeking a three-and-a-half year federal jail term, while the defence wanted 25 months.
In delivering his sentence, Surrey Provincial Court Judge Gurmail Gill said he felt Warren’s remorse was genuine and that the fatal incident was not “in keeping with her character.”
Still, he said, her decisions and actions on the night Kassandra Kaulius was killed showed a “high degree of intentional risk-taking” and that her conduct was “grave and morally blameworthy.”
The Kaulius family has been pushing for stiffer drunk driving penalties.
“Families’ lives are changed,” said Markita. “Every single one of us is a changed person.”