June 2, 1998
Friends of Monique Ishikawa and Kimberly Brooks gathered last night at the Peace Arch border crossing to remember the pair, who died in a fiery crash Saturday night.
Brooks' car, waiting in line at Canada customs, was struck from behind by a speeding car. Julia Campagna of Kirkland, Wash., was charged yesterday with two counts of dangerous driving causing death.
"They were girls who would both really brighten up a person's day," said Frank Caldera, 19, of Vancouver, one of about 20 friends who journeyed to the scene of the accident.
"I feel like I've been robbed."
Caldera recalled a long friendship with Ishikawa. They had gone to elementary school together and later met again when both were in Grade 8.
"We've been best friends since then," he said. "I'm still in shock. I know she's gone, but the fact that she won't be there the next time I need to speak to her is hard to accept. She's a person I thought would be there the rest of my life."
By Holly Horwood
A roommate says Julia Campagna's behavior was erratic and manic in the weeks before the fiery collision Saturday that killed two Lower Mainland teens.
"I was scared for her and worried for her," an anguished Jeff Knight, who rented a basement suite to Campagna in his waterfront home in a Seattle suburb, told reporters outside a Surrey courthouse yesterday.
"I've known Julia for three months and her behavior was increasingly erratic ... it's a shock to see her like this."
Campagna, 27, who is charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing death, was remanded in jail yesterday for a 15-day psychiatric assessment.
Looking tanned and fit, her shoulder-length brown hair tucked neatly behind her ears, she appeared out of place and agitated during a short appearance in Surrey provincial court.
Campagna repeatedly attempted to interrupt the proceedings to ensure that her name was pronounced correctly.
Neither her father, who lives in Montana, nor the dead girls' relatives attended the hearing.
Judge Rick Peck imposed a publication ban on details of evidence.
"It's a sad, sad case at this point, with no real explanation," prosecutor Lothar Kiner told reporters outside the court, including some from news outlets in Seattle and Blaine, Wash.
RCMP say the horrific crash at 9 p.m. on Saturday occurred inside the Canadian border, just south of customs inspectors' booths at the Peace Arch. Campagna's Pontiac Grand Am allegedly roared over speed bumps at up to 160 km/h before plowing into the Honda Accord driven by Kimberly Brooks.
Both Brooks, 18, and her friend Monique Ishikawa, 19, were killed as their vehicle exploded on impact. Campagna wasn't injured.
The college-educated Campagna had worked for years for a U.S. bank, which transferred her to Seattle.
Several months ago, she took on a new job in sales for a pharmaceutical company and moved to the wealthy Seattle suburb of Kirkland.
Reached in Missoula, Mont., Campagna's father, Joseph Campagna, a retired military officer, described his daughter as an intelligent, ambitious woman who was obsessed with her career, her fitness and finding a husband.
Joseph Campagna said his daughter, who is part native Indian, may have felt more comfortable in Canada. She ran a marathon in Vancouver a month ago and may have been returning to visit friends.
"I do believe she had mental problems that manifested [themselves] prior to this thing," he said, adding that his ex-wife and Campagna's sister were hospitalized for mental illnesses.
"If she'd driven into a tree, that would have been bad, and sad," he said, "but maybe better than killing two innocent people."
Outside court, Knight said he met Campagna, whom he described as "driven," when she responded to his advertisement for a roommate.
"She seemed very responsible and just fit in," he told reporters, but added that she always seemed "a bit erratic, a bit manic."
"This is horrific. This is tragic," he added. "She is not a bad person. I've known her to be a sweet and caring person, and it's terrible to see her like this."
Campagna will next appear in court on June 15.
The current charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years.
However, Kiner said, that could be upgraded to criminal negligence causing death - which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison - depending on the results of drug tests done on Campagna.
If she is found mentally unfit to stand trial, there could be a plea of not guilty by reason of criminal insanity.
They were young women in a hurry - to succeed, to love, laugh and be happy.
Monique Ishikawa, 19, dreamed of fame and fortune as a talk-show host. Her heroine was Connie Chung.
Her friend of eight years, Kimberly Brooks, 18, eager to begin law studies, worked hard to finish high school six months early.
Kimberly's former teachers at Terry Fox secondary remembered her yesterday as "a joy to teach."
Her school counsellor, Caryl Nelson, said: "She had a vision of where she wanted to go and she was in a hurry.
"She took joy and pleasure in what she did and she was dedicated to succeeding."
Monique, an outgoing extrovert, touched scores of hearts.
She was a "a party animal," said best friend Stephanie Scott, recalling impromptu dance parties at 5 in the morning outside the local 7-Eleven.
"She had millions of friends. She had it all - she was so very pretty."
One night, the two of them lay laughing on the bed at Monique's North Vancouver home.
"We. were planning our whole life. We were going to move to the Bahamas and be rich and famous and we'd spend the rest of our lives together."
Monique liked to shock. She once went to classes in her pyjamas. "Her favorite thing on earth was sleep," Stephanie said. "She liked showing up [at school] late and leaving early."
Friends of Monique and Kimberly gathered last night at Peace Arch Park, near the scene of the tragedy, to hold a silent vigil.
Among them was Frank Caldera, who told how Monique would call at 3 in the morning wanting to go for a drive in her much-loved four wheel drive truck.
"People thought we had a relationship," he said. "But it wasn't like that.
"We were just so much in tune with each other's feelings. I feel like I have lost my other half."
On the day they died, he said, Kimberly and Monique talked about whose car they would take on their shopping trip to Seattle. They went in Kimberly's.
"I keep thinking over and over, 'What if they had taken another car?"' Also at the vigil was Indra Kubicek, 18, who had been in Japan teaching English.
She caught the first plane home after Monique's mother, Fumiyo Ishikawa, phoned with the news.
Indra had been planning a welcome for Monique, who was to have flown out to Japan tomorrow.
It was to have been party time again. But this time, there will be no dancing.