Is nothing sacred anymore? A roadside memorial to a young Surrey woman who was killed by a drunk driver is being repeatedly targeted by flower thieves.
The victim, Kassandra Kaulius, was a 22-year-old aspiring teacher and pitcher for the Storm’s senior ladies team.
She was killed heading home from playing a game of softball at Cloverdale Athletic Park on May 3, 2011, when a drunk motorist driving a van ran a red light and T-boned her car at 103 km/h, at 152nd Street and 64th Avenue.
Since her death, Kassandra’s parents, Markita and Victor Kaulius, have been lobbying the federal government to change Canada’s impaired driving laws to make them tougher, in the hope doing so will deter drunk drivers and save other families from suffering horrible pain.
They have also set up a scholarship fund in their daughter’s name, which has provided thousands of dollars in assistance to young women pursuing a post-secondary education.
Kassandra’s roadside memorial, at the northeast corner of the Sullivan intersection, is modest, today containing a small pot of pink flowers at the corner, beside a message pleading with passers-by to leave them be.
“We keep putting flowers there and people keep on stealing them,” Markita Kaulius said. “We’ve had them stolen now 30 times over the last seven years.”
June 27 would have been Kassandra’s 30th birthday.
“We went that day to give away one of the scholarships at her old school and earlier that morning we took down a potted plant for her birthday — it was the only gift we could give her, right — and then it lasted there for five days and it was stolen again.
“It’s like, really?”
Emotional damage aside, how much have these flower thefts cost her family?
“Oh, hundreds, hundreds of dollars,” she sighed.
“I wish people would stop stealing them. Now it’s a matter of, ‘How about we take a bet on how long the flowers will last?’”
“There’s a photo there. We didn’t want a big distraction,” she said of the memorial. “Some people put crosses and hang beads on telephone poles and they do all kinds of stuff. All we have is, we put two little silk flowers there because they keep stealing them and the last time we put a hydrangea potted plant there.
“It’s pretty basic, but we just thought we didn’t want people to look at her picture and know that somebody died there, so that’s why we leave the flowers, it’s moreso just as a remembrance that people can look over and see something’s growing, and life is there.”
The message posted at the corner reads: “Please do not touch these flowers – They are part of a Memorial Site!”
It goes on to say that Kassandra Kaulius was killed by an impaired driver there.
“This is where she took her last breath and we leave flowers for her to let her know her family loves her and thinks about her and misses her every day. We have had the flowers stolen 22 times in the last 6 years. Please do not steal them again!”
Despite this clearly visible petition, flowers have been stolen at least eight more times since it was posted, she said.