Community mourns as Caledon mom, three kids killed in tragic crash

June 25, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Alyssa Parkhill

An entire community has been left to mourn over the past week following the tragic deaths of Caledon mother Karolina Ciasullo and her three young children.

Last Thursday (June 18), the Ciasullos were involved in a collision in Brampton, at the intersection of Torbram Road and Countryside Road, after an erratic driver in a blue Infiniti, according to witnesses, sped through a red light and crashed into the family’s Volkswagen Atlas SUV. Six-year-old daughter Klara was pronounced dead at the scene, while Karolina and two younger daughters – Lilianna, 4, and Mila, 1, died in hospital.  

The incident is being investigated by The Special Investigations Unit and Peel Regional Police. Although no charges have yet been laid, police are compiling a case against the 20-year-old male who was driving the Infiniti. The man is currently in hospital recovering from serious injuries sustained in the crash. Police have, as of press time, refused to reveal his identity, although the Toronto Sun have reported the driver to be Brady Robinson, of Caledon.

Friends, neighbours, family members and the general community have come together to support the Ciasullo family, following the horrific loss. 

A memorial created by the community has been placed at the intersection of the incident with swathes of flowers, balloons, candles, letters, stuffed animals and toys that, continue to grow by the day, honouring the memory of Karolina and her daughters.

Karolina Ciasullo was a Grade 4 teacher at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Elementary School. The school board shared their condolences following the incident, stating, “as a Catholic school community, we offer our prayers for the family and all of those affected by this tragic event. The flag at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Elementary School has been lowered as a sign of mourning.” 

In addition to the memorial, family friend Bobby Garabet began a GoFundMe page to raise funds in support of the family – to help pay for funeral costs, and time that husband, Michael, will have to spend away from work. After only two days, a total of over $300,000 has been raised. 

“I just thought ‘we have to do something’,” said Garabet. “I shared with a small group of friends on a small Facebook group that I’m a part of, which was very receptive, people quickly began donating. I can’t say I thought it would get to this level, but I’m grateful that is has.”

The Go Fund Me originally began with a goal of $20,000. As the fundraiser continued to be shared, online and by word of mouth, that goal continued to increase to support the family’s financial hardship through such a tragic loss. 

Family members shared their thanks on the fundraiser page, including Connie Ciasullo, sister of Michael, stating, “there are not enough words to express the gratitude for the support received during this time of immense loss. We could not even imagine the amount of people who have contributed at this time. We very much appreciate your messages as well. I will continue to share them with my brother as they are comfort during such sorrow. On behalf of the Ciasullo family, we thank you.”

The Caledon community, and broader, came together on Sunday evening (June 21) as a “Light Up The Sky Vigil” was held for the four Ciasullo family members at the Caledon East Community Complex. Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson was among the hundreds of residents in attendance. 

“On behalf of council, staff and the entire community that you see around here tonight, although our hearts are heavy, we don’t know fully what you are going through,” the mayor said, seemingly addressing Michael Ciasullo, voice thick with emotion. “We’re here this evening to stand with you in grief, and show deep sorrow, to honour the lives of your beautiful wife and daughters, whose lives were senselessly taken.”

He added, “The community of Caledon is with you.” 

Candles were lit, prayers were said, songs were sung, and four white balloons were held by the Ciasullo family and let go into the sky. 

Karolina’s sister, Anna Martin, shared words with the community, overcome with emotion. 

“My sister was my world,” she expressed. “We had a bond that I can’t even begin to describe to anyone. She was my rock. I leaned on her for everything, and she leaned on me. She was my best friend.” 

Peel Police Chief Nish Duraiappah shared his condolences in a media release on Friday, and informed that the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is working tirelessly to complete the investigation and “expect that charges will be laid.”

SIU reported that a dozen of witnesses has come forward with video surveillance and been interviewed.  

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