British Columbia

Drunk driver sentenced to 3 years for fatal crash

A Surrey, B.C., woman who pleaded guilty to killing another woman in a drinking and driving crash has been sentenced to three years and one month in jail.

Natasha Warren pleaded guilty in drunk driving death of Kassandra Kaulius

Natasha Warren was sentenced to just over three years for killing Kassandra Kaulius 2:30

A Surrey, B.C., woman who pleaded guilty to killing another woman in a drinking and driving crash has been sentenced to three years and one month in jail.

At a sentencing hearing Friday morning, a judge also handed Natasha Warren an eight-year driving ban.

Warren pleaded guilty to drunk driving in the death of Kassandra Kaulius, 22, in May 2011. The charges were dangerous driving causing death, failing to stay at the scene and driving with a blood alcohol level higher than 0.08.

Kaulius's mother Markita says the sentence isn't enough.

"She received 37 months, but in reality she'll be eligible for parole in one-third of that time," Markita Kaulius told CBC News.

"We've been fighting for minimum mandatory sentencing of five years ... if someone is convicted of impaired driving causing death. We know that even at five years they won't do that amount of time."

The Crown had asked for a three-and-a-half-year prison term, while the defence asked for two years behind bars and a five-year driving ban.

Natasha Warren pleaded guilty to three charges in July, including impaired driving causing death. (CBC)

During the trial, the court heard Warren had consumed more than a bottle of wine before driving home the night of the crash.

Her car was travelling at 103 km/h when it collided with Kaulius's car.

The court heard she called her boyfriend, who told her to take the keys from the van and run from the scene so they could report the vehicle stolen.

Warren fled and was later found in the bushes by police with a blood alcohol level that was twice the legal limit for driving.

Letter from Natasha Warren

To all of society and the Kaulius family,

I can tell you first-hand about the dangers and terrors that drinking and driving causes.

It is often talked about how people should be extra careful and plan a safe ride during the holidays but others should be aware all year, seven days of the week. This is my plea for everyone to PLEASE, PLEASE, DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE.

Don't think that what happens to other people won't happen to you. If you drink and drive a tragedy can, will, and does happen to anyone. Innocent people drive around every day minding their own business and they don't deserve to have targets on their backs and need to worry that they could be killed at any moment.

When this happens families are destroyed and will never be the same again. Holidays and family dinners will never be the same again. Birthdays are not birthdays anymore but rather serve as memorial days for the victims.

If you drink and drive and this happens to you, you will never be the same again and you will never stop thinking about that dreadfully, tragic day that you caused. I will spend the rest of my life trying to prevent others from causing the same kind of grief that I have caused.

To the Kaulius family,

I know your family will never accept my apology and for that I understand.

So how does one write an apology using words? They could never explain fully the deep remorse I feel every moment of every day.

The only way I could show your family how sorry I am is by committing myself to educating the public including youths about the dangers of drinking and driving and how serious it is.

It is unimaginable to think about what you are all going through. The reason I didn't turn around to look at your side of the courtroom is because defendants are to address the judge when they ask someone if they have anything to say. It isn't often the judge asks this of a defendant and I was nervous and unprepared.

Deep regret, sadness, and remorse are the feelings I have towards your family. An apology just won't be good enough to satisfy your needs to heal and no amount of a jail sentence will ever be enough. There will never be enough that I could do show your family how sorry I am.

Kassandra was a very special person who can never be replaced and never will. This I cannot do but wish I could. Just know that I will preserve her memory by giving lectures everywhere and anywhere that people, schools, and institutions will allow. This is a promise from the bottom of my heart.