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Friends, family describe to court their lasting grief after crash that killed mother, three daughters

There were tears in a Brampton courtroom as victim impact statements were read at the sentencing hearing of the 21-year-old who was behind the wheel in a crash that claimed the lives of a mother and her three young girls.

One after another, tearful friends and relatives described Monday the lasting grief and trauma caused by the June 18, 2020 collision that killed Karolina Ciasullo and her three daughters -- six-year-old Klara, three-year-old Lilianna and one-year-old Mila. The four were in an SUV that was struck by another vehicle.

Brady Robertson, of Caledon, Ont., has pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous driving causing death in connection with the crash. But he has pleaded not guilty to four counts of operation while impaired by drugs causing death.

His lawyers have filed a constitutional challenge against the law on cannabis-impaired driving, the outcome of which will affect the verdict on the impairment charges as well as overall sentencing. A decision is expected next year.

Karolina’s older sister, Anna Martin, was the first to read her statement.

“June 18th was the worst day of my life. My sister and my three babies were taken away from us. This was no accident, that kind of reckless driving was a choice," she said.

With tears in her eyes, Martin told the court her family’s lives have been irrevocably changed forever.

“My sister was my world ... she was my best friend, my soulmate . She made people laugh, she was compassionate, kind, witty, and smart ... an amazing mom, daughter, and friend."

Martin described herself to the court as the older protective sister, even if it was just by two years.

“But I couldn’t protect her that day. If only I was with her at her last moment, to hold her head, to hold her in my arms, or to stroke her hair. And the girls, it pains me to even go this far," she said.

"I wish I was there to hold the girls in my arms, to cuddle them, to hug them, kiss them, whisper I love you, everything will be okay in their ear, to smell their necks one last time, to snuggle them.”

Brady Robertson pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous driving causing death, and was found guilty of driving while impaired by drugs.

“The world was robbed of beautiful souls all because of the actions of one person," Mary Freitas, a family friend told the court. "Because of him, Karolina, Klara, Lilliana and Mila are gone. Because of him all the memories we can make are gone. And because of him, all the good and wonderful things those girls could and would have done in this world are gone “

At Robertson’s sentencing hearing in Brampton today Anna Martin read her parents statement, Lillianna and Kazimirerz Lugiawicz, writing they feel their lives are not worth living anymore.

“She gave us such beautiful and sweet granddaughters, they were the light in our lives ... how do we live without our girls ... I keep looking at my front door daily waiting for them to walk in. Every sound, every knock, I think it is them until I am kicked back into reality.”

The mother and her three girls were heading home from her parents house when her vehicle was struck by the speeding car.

Melanie Elliott, the wife of Peel Region police officer on scene, gave a statement about how the crash has impacted their lives

“One of the few things he said to me about this horrible day was, ‘I just wanted to help them, but I couldn’t, there was nothing I could do to help them. I couldn’t even get the driver side door open to get her out of that car."

There are 74 victim impact statements coming from family, friends and colleagues. Best friend, Agatha Bonsu, says she still can't believe they are gone forever.

“I hoped i would wake up from this horrible nightmare but every morning when i woke up they were still gone.”

Karolina was a teacher, her vice principal Natalie Grossi, said nobody at the school is getting over this tragedy.

“There are no words that will heal this pain. Time will not make this better. The world is less bright without these beautiful angels in it.” 

-- With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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