'Absolutely heart-wrenching:' Victims in horrific Brampton crash identified
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, June 19, 2020 9:10AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 19, 2020 10:56PM EDT
A 37-year-old woman who was killed in a horrific crash in Brampton that also claimed the life of her three young daughters has been identified.
The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board has released a statement confirming that Karolina Ciasullo and her three young daughters were the victims in a multi-vehicle collision near Countryside Drive and Torbram Road on Thursday afternoon.
They say that Ciasullo worked as a Grade 4 teacher at Isaac Jogues Catholic Elementary School in Brampton, where the flag has been lowered to half-mast today.
Member of the school board’s tragic events team will also be available to assist any student or staff who requires support.
“Our deepest condolences go out to her husband, other members of the family, friends and colleagues. As a Catholic school community, we offer our prayers for the family and all those affected by this tragic event,” the statement from the board reads.
The identification of Ciasullo comes as more details emerge about the crash that claimed her life and the lives of her children – ages one, four and six.
Witness reports have indicated that an Infiniti was travelling through the intersection of Countryside Drive and Torbram Road at a high rate of speed at around noon on Thursday when it slammed into Ciasullo's SUV, causing it to careen into a light pole.
According to a Go Fund Me page, the collision resulted in the death of Ciasullo and her daughters Klara, Lilianna and Mila.
The 20-year-old driver of the Infiniti, meanwhile, was transported to a hospital where he remains in serious condition.
Few details are known about what led up to the crash at this point, though the province’s police watchdog has invoked its mandate amid reports that a police vehicle was following the Infiniti.
On Friday morning, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown told CP24 that he has was briefed about the incident on Thursday night and was informed that Ontario Provincial Police had received a call about alleged “erratic and reckless” driving involving the Infiniti 30 minutes prior to the crash.
He said that he was also told that the individual behind the wheel “had multiple offences for driving” and had a prohibited licence as a result. The vehicle’s plates also didn’t belong to the car, Brown said.
Neither the SIU or Peel Regional Police were able to confirm Brown's information when contacted by CP24.
“It makes your blood boil. This can’t be a slap on the wrist,” Brown said. “I believe this is criminal negligence causing death and there has to be real consequences for people who cause real damage like this.”
The SIU has said that it is unclear at this time whether the Infiniti had run a red light as some, including Brown, have alleged.
It has also said that it is too early to say whether the police officer that spotted the Infiniti had their lights and sirens activated at the time.
Speaking with CP24, Brown likened the collision to “watching a horror movie in real life” and said that there are just “no words to describe the sorrow and pain” that many people in Brampton are feeling today.
While the investigation into the crash is ongoing, he said that he hopes justice is eventually served.
“I have an 11-month-old here at home and hearing the story of a police officer unsuccessfully trying to do CPR on that nine-month-old, it is just incomprehensible and so needless,” he said. “It makes you so angry because you have this beautiful family and their life has been stolen.”
On Friday St. Cornelius Elementary in sent out a letter to parents confirming that one of young children killed in the crash attended Senior Kindergarten at the school.
Meanwhile, a woman who visited the crash site to leave some flowers and a handwritten note told CP24 that she knew Ciasullo as someone “who did everything for her children” and “was passionate about life.”
“She was filled with light and hope,” Natalie Grossi said. “It is definitely a loss. It is a loss for everybody.”
Speaking with reporters during his daily briefing at Queen's Park on Friday, Premier Doug Ford called the loss of the family “absolutely heart-wrenching.”
He then added that the tragedy has been on his mind practically "non-stop" over the last 24 hours and that "justice has to be served."
No charges have been laid in connection with the collision at this point.
"This is a family that has just been destroyed. I can’t even imagine what the husband and the father is thinking right now," Ford said.
In addition to the SIU investigation, Peel Regional Police's major collision bureau is conducting a parallel investigation into the cause of the crash.
The SIU said Friday it has designated one subject officer and one witness officer in the investigation.
Its investigators had interviewed “more than one dozen” civilian witnesses to the collision and collected various video surveillance footage of the incident.
The city of Brampton said flags at all city facilities will fly at half-mast until sunset Saturday to remember the victims.
Family, friends, and community members left flowers, candles, stuffed toys, and handwritten messages in a makeshift memorial near the crash site.
Former students of Ciasullo described her as a kind, funny teacher who cares for her students.
“She helped me get my first award in my life, the most improved award,” said her former student Samuel Okafor.
Okafor’s mom, Elizabeth, said Ciasullo kept encouraging her son to study.
“She kept pushing him until he became better,” Elizabeth said.
Ciasullo’s best friends, who have known her for more than 20 years, remembered her as an incredible mother, sister, wife, and friend, who puts others before herself.
“She had such a contagious personality. Her smile lit up a room,” said one of her best friends.
Trish Peters said it is comforting to see the outpouring of support for her friend.
“It’s really beautiful the way that everyone has come together. She deserves this at the very least. She deserves to be known and recognized for the amazing, beautiful person that she was,” Peters said.
“Thank you to everyone who is coming out for her and showing their love and support for her and those girls."