Dad not finished with killer driver
It's isn't over yet, says crash victim's father as he thinks about class-action suit in U.S.

Greg Middleton, Staff reporter The Province

Sunday 5 September 1999

Julia Campagna

Cat Ishikawa

The diet drug-crazed driver who killed two Vancouver area teens may have walked out of a Canadian courtroom a free woman, but she still
faces a civil lawsuit in the U.S.

"It isn't all over yet," said Cat Ishikawa, the father of one of the dead teens.

He said he was approached early on in the court proceedings by U.S. lawyers looking to launch a class-action suit against Julia Campagna in her home state of Washington. In all, five vehicles were involved in the fiery Peace Arch border crossing crash in May, 1998. The Vancouver teenagers were the only two to die .

While their parents are in shock today that their
daughters' killer has been allowed to go free without even a slap on the wrist, they say they will now start looking more seriously into the civil action.

Ishikawa said they were still grief-struck at the time of the initial approach and didn't pay much attention to it.

"We signed some papers to join in with some other people who were hurt," said Ishikawa, who was stunned when Campagna wasn't punished in any way.

"Something is profoundly wrong with a system that lets people get away with murder. It doesn't matter if it is temporary insanity or permanent insanity or drunkenness or whatever the excuse, it's wrong."

Monique Ishikawa, 19, and Kimberly Brooks, 18, who were coming back from a shopping trip to the U.S., were killed in the crash in which their natural gas powered car exploded, sending customs officers running for cover.

Last Wednesday Campagna, 28, was found not criminally responsible in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster after lengthy psychiatric testimony that she was in a psychotic state.

Campagna collapsed sobbing with relief in her lawyer's arms Friday after being told she was free to return home to Kirkland, Wash. She had been charged with dangerous driving causing death.

Supreme Court Justice Thimersingh Singh painstakingly explained that the only option the law allowed him was to grant her an absolute discharge.

Singh cited a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that demanded he impose the "least onerous and restrictive" sentence on someone who has been found not criminally responsible.

Singh said for him to even order continued psychiatric monitoring of Campagna there had to be positive evidence of a strong likelihood of a serious risk to the public, and it wasn't there.

During the trial, psychiatrists said Campagna was apparently out of her mind on the over-the- counter diet drug Xenedrine, which contains the
performance-enhancing stimulant ephedrine, when she drove her car at high speed into the rear of the car in which the two Vancouver teens were waiting to cross the border.

Campagna, who thought she was pregnant by hockey star Joe Nieuwendyk -- who she's never met -- actually sped up approaching the border in response to voices she said she heard coming from her radio.