SURREY (NEWS1130) – He hit and killed a woman in White Rock while being chased by a Mountie in May of last year, but a young driver will spend just two years less a day in a provincial jail and three years on probation. 20-year-old Kyle Danyliuk is also subject to a five year driving ban despite never holding a licence, and cannot use alcohol or drugs.
The victim’s family is nothing short of devastated.
Lynné McCutcheon holds a picture outside Provincial Court in Surrey of her sister, Marilyn Laursen. The 56-year-old was killed while crossing Johnston Road and Thrift Avenue on May 18, 2011.
“Look at how beautiful she is,” McCutcheon says to reporters through tears. “I talk to her everyday and say, ‘good morning.’
“It’s destroyed our whole family. My sister was a beautiful woman and she was such a vivacious part of our lives. I’m pleased that [Danyliuk] is going to jail but I don’t feel his sentence is just.”
Danyliuk earlier pleaded guilty on four counts including dangerous driving causing death and failing to remain at the scene of an accident. Court heard he had been drinking before taking his girlfriend’s car and evading police through quiet White Rock streets. He lost control while passing a vehicle stopped at the intersection and struck Laursen, who was walking with a friend.
Crown prosecutors had been asking for a four year prison term, while Danyliuk’s defense lawyers were asking for the sentence that was handed down.
The sentence fits within the guidelines of the law, says the Crown’s Brad Kielmann, who admits the sentence is lighter than he hoped. “It’s not a mathematical exercise [in weighing mitigating and aggravating factors in sentencing],” he points out. “It’s a contextual analysis and the court has to weigh all of the factors, having regard to the personal circumstances of the offender.”
The judge cited Kyle Danyliuk’s young age and remorse for handing down less than the four years Crown had asked for. He added Danyliuk has been working in steady employment, has a stable relationship, and has abstained from drugs and alcohol while following all bail conditions.
“I do not believe he’s remorseful,” McCutcheon adds. “He couldn’t even look at the family to apologize. He feels more sorry for himself.”
Danyliuk, dressed in blue jeans and a red hoodie, stared forward as he was sentenced. He never looked back at Laursen’s family in the gallery, instead asking to speak with his own — a request denied as he was taken away by a sheriff. A couple of Danyliuk’s family members swore audibly in anger as they exited the courtroom.
Another victim’s family reacts
The family of a woman killed in a crash two weeks before this hit and run was in the courtroom today and is demanding tougher sentences.
Kassandra Kaulius, 22, was killed, allegedly by a drunk driver, while driving home in Surrey last year. She was a beloved family member and respected ball player.
Her mother, Markita, has bonded with the family of the White Rock woman since these cases were so close together.
“It’s very disappointing for another family that has to go through this,” she says. “Two years less a day is not an appropriate sentence anymore. Maybe 30 or 40 years ago [it was]. Our group ‘Families for Justice’ has now collected over 16,000 names from Canadians who all agree the laws need to get tougher.”
She says five years would be more appropriate in this case. Kaulius wants to see ‘impaired driving causing death’ and ‘dangerous driving causing death’ to be reclassified as new criminal charges called ‘vehicular homicide’ or ‘vehicular manslaughter’.
“I think the public needs to start writing their Federal MPs,” Kaulius adds. “They’re the lawmakers. The judges keep telling us they can only sentence within the criminal code. Well the criminal code has to be changed.”
In the meantime, the Mountie accused of engaging in a chase with Danyliuk is also facing a dangerous driving charge.