June 1, 1998
By Salim Jiwa
Frances Brooks' last words to her teenage daughter were: "Think safety, and always remember we love you."
As the Port Coquitlam mother made her call to 18-year-old Kimberly's cell phone, her biggest worry was that her daughter and friend Moniqtie Ishikawa, 19, would fail to declare their purchases at the border after a day of shopping in Seattle.
"We told her to make sure they declared everything, and to call us once they got through customs," said father Phil Brooks, his voice choked with emotion.
A few minutes after the call, Kimberly's car, waiting in line for Canada Customs at the Peace Arch crossing, was blasted from behind by a driver who thundered into it at nearly 160 km/h.
Kimberly Brooks' Honda Accord exploded in flames.
There was nothing anyone could do as the young women perished before the eyes of other motorists and customs officers.
The accident happened at 9 p.m. on Saturday. Police said a vehicle from Washington state slammed into the Accord, causing a chain-reaction accident that affected a total of five cars.
"The two female occupants of the Honda Accord were unable to escape the blaze and died at the scene," said police.
Julia Campagna, 27, of Kirkland, Wash., near Seattle, has been charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing death. She is to appear in court in Surrey today.
Friends and family members surrounded the grieving families yesterday.
Phil Brooks said his wife had asked Kimberly to call home as soon as she got through customs.
The call never came.
The family called the cellular phone several times, but there was no answer.
Finally the police called at 11 p.m. to ask whether she was driving the car, he said.
"She was a graduate of Terry Fox secondary - oh, it comes and goes - it is the most devastating thing you can have," Brooks said, his voice breaking.
Kimberly was in her first year of university at Simon Fraser, he said, and wanted to study law eventually.
"When she went out, we would always say to her, 'Think safety; and remember we love you,'" he added.
"Those things keep coming back to me over and over today."
There was equal devastation at the home of Cat Ishikawa in North Vancouver.
He and wife Fumiyo were awakened by a knock on the door, at 3 a.m. yesterday.
Police were there to tell them that Monique, their only child, was dead.
"They said our daughter had been killed. They said they were very sorry to be bringing us this news," said the grieving father.
"The police were telling me it happened at speeds of between 80 to 100 miles per hour.
"I find this whole thing so incomprehensible, I am still in a state of shock," he said. "They went to Seattle yesterday morning at about 11:30 for shopping."
Kimberly and Monique had been the best of friends for eight years.
Monique graduated from Sutherland secondary school in North Vancouver last June and had enrolled for fall at Capilano College.
Police said their investigation continues and that one other person who was admitted to hospital was released after treatment.
Sources said customs officers who saw the tragedy had received counselling.