Driver, 20, charged in Brampton crash that killed mom and three daughters
Published Thursday, June 25, 2020 6:29AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 25, 2020 9:55PM EDT
Peel Regional Police have laid charges against a 20-year-old driver in connection with a shocking crash that killed a mother and her three young daughters in Brampton last week.
Karolina Ciasullo, 37, and her daughters – Klara, 6, Lilianna, 3, and Mila, 1 – died on June 18 after the Volkswagen Atlas they were travelling in was struck by a blue Infiniti G35 as it made its way through the intersection of Torbram Road and Countryside Drive.
According to police, the girls were all in their child seats in the rear seats of the Atlas as the vehicle travelled north on Torbram Road.
The eastbound Infiniti was travelling at a high rate of speed on Countryside Drive when it struck the northbound Volkswagen in the intersection at around 12:16 p.m., police said.
The impact of the violent crash directed the Volkswagen into a light pole. The Infiniti then collided head-on with a westbound Honda that was stopped at a red light.
Despite life-saving efforts, all four occupants of the Atlas died of their injuries. The driver of the Infiniti was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
Peel police announced Thursday that the driver of the Infiniti was taken into custody on June 24 in connection with the deadly collision.
Brady Robertson, 20, of Caledon is now facing four counts of dangerous driving causing death and one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
Mom, girls remembered as “beyond beautiful lives”
The charges come the same day a funeral was held to lay the mother and her three daughters to rest.
Mourners sobbed outside St. Eugene de Mazenod Catholic Church in Brampton Thursday as four white caskets were carried into the church.
Delivering a eulogy, the children’s aunt, Connie Ciasullo, said there may be no words to describe the family’s grief, but “there are words, words that describe the happiness they brought to our lives and the places in our hearts they will also hold.”
Remembering her nieces through their smiles, kisses and pictures, she said Karolina and her girls “were like magnets to each other.”
“Love lived in Michael and Karolina’s home,” she said.
She described Karolina as her brother’s “rock and his north star.”
Calling him “one of the strongest people I know,” she said the memory of his wife and children will be the source of his strength as he moves forward.
“While we’ll never know why these beyond beautiful lives were taken from us so soon, we do know they will never be taken from our hearts, our minds and our prayers,” she said.
She also acknowledged the public support the family has received and thanked all the first responders and good Samaritans who tried to assist on the day of the crash.
Wearing dark sunglasses, Michael Ciasullo greeted a few other mourners outside the church, but did not speak publicly. He sat with his head bowed as his sister delivered the eulogy for his wife and three daughters. However he did issue a written statement to all those who knew them.
“We will forever hold on to the memories of our time together,” he wrote. “They are snapshots of love embedded in our hearts forever. May the legacy of these beautiful women live on through the joy, kindness and love they shared with others.”
At a vigil held over the weekend, Karolina Ciasullo was also remembered as a beloved teacher and loving mother.
"My sister was my world," Ciasullo's sister said in tears." We had a bond that I cannot even start to describe to anyone. She was my rock."
Attendance at the service Thursday was limited to invited guests only due to COVID-19 restrictions. Audio from the service was broadcast on speakers outside the church and cameras livestreamed the service to accommodate those who could not be inside due to physical distancing rules limiting capacity to 30 per cent at houses of worship.
Flowers, balloons and teddy bears were piled high at the scene of the crash Thursday – a growing memorial to the mother and children who were killed.
Suspect was in another collision two days earlier: police
Peel police said the ‘dangerous operation of a motor vehicle’ charge laid Thursday relates to an incident that occurred two days before the deadly crash.
At around 8:25 p.m. on June 16, the driver of a blue Infiniti coupe was involved in a “minor collision” at Dougal and Kennedy roads in Caledon.
Const. Kyle Villers said Thursday that video circulating on social media captured that incident:
In the video, it appears as if the driver is passed out as the vehicle continues to move. When passersby approached the vehicle to try and stop it, the driver backed up and fled the scene.
Caledon OPP officers later spotted the vehicle “travelling in a dangerous manner” eastbound on King Street in Caledon, but did not attempt to pull it over because it was travelling too fast.
“Officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop but due to the speed and manner of which he was driving, the decision was made not to pursue the vehicle,” Peel police said in a news release.
Police said the two incidents have been joined into a single prosecution with the help of OPP and under the direction of the Peel Crown Attorney’s office.
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown has previously said that the driver who struck Ciasullo and her daughters was reported to the Ontario Provincial Police for “erratic and reckless” driving.
He said that he was told by police that the individual behind the wheel “had multiple offences for driving” and had a prohibited licence as a result. Peel Regional Police and the OPP have not confirmed those details to CP24.
The Province’s Special Investigations Unit is separately probing the details around the crash. According to the SIU, a Peel police officer who was westbound on Countryside Drive spotted an Infiniti travelling in the opposite direction at around noon on the day of the deadly crash.
One subject officer and one witness officer have been designated in that investigation so far.
Meanwhile, Villers said the Peel police investigation remains active and police are still looking to speak with anyone who has information, particularly anyone who spotted the Infiniti between June 16 and June 18.
“We’re still looking for any information. It remains an ongoing investigation,” Villers said. “We’re still tracking all the information. We know there are a lot of witnesses. A lot of people may have interacted with this vehicle before the collision and after the incident in Caledon.”
He said it’s still possible that further charges could be laid.
Robertson appeared via phone in bail court at the Brampton courthouse on Thursday morning.
He was remanded into custody and will appear next in court on July 23.