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The Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY
August 11, 2008 at 9:13 PM EDT
Fleeing police, his own demons and a return to police custody he didn’t think he could bear, Gerald Guliker steered his van head-on into an SUV Sunday afternoon.
He killed himself and the other driver and injured four other people – all strangers to him – in what police are calling a murder-suicide.
“In his eyes he was either going to die or go to jail. He chose to die,” his cousin Anton Guliker said Monday.
Anton Guliker got a call Sunday morning from his second cousin Gerald, who knew police were searching for him after he broke the terms of his bail by contacting his wife. Anton Guliker met and spoke with Gerald around 11:30 a.m.; two hours later his cousin, fleeing police, had plowed head-on into an SUV on rural Ferry Road in Agassiz, B.C.
Emergency personnel attend to the scene of the crash of an SUV in Agassiz Sunday, Aug. 10. The RCMP say they’re treating a highway crash that left two people dead as a murder-suicide. A car and an SUV collided in Agassiz on Sunday, killing the driver of both vehicles and injuring three passengers, including a child. (CTV)
Both Gerald Guliker and the 40-year-old male driver were pronounced dead on the scene. The SUV’s other passengers – three adults and a three-year-old girl – were airlifted to hospital.
“He said he would rather die than go back to jail,” Anton said. “And I knew he was serious, too. He’s been in jail before and I’ve seen him in jail, and I knew he wasn’t coming back.”
According to court documents, Gerald Guliker was charged with threatening Ms. Guliker in June, and repeatedly violated court orders forbidding him to contact Ms. Guliker and their eldest daughter, Amanda.
He tried to speak with Wendy Guliker in church Sunday morning, Anton Guliker said. He said Ms. Guliker locked herself in a bathroom and phoned the police. Ms. Guliker declined to comment when reached by phone Monday.
Anton Guliker said he telephoned the police after seeing his cousin to tell them of Gerald’s intentions and where he was headed. Police found Gerald’s vehicle pulled over as he spoke with a male standing outside his car. When Gerald Guliker saw the marked RCMP vehicles he drove away, with police in pursuit.
RCMP Constable Lea-Anne Dunlop said police followed the vehicle, but didn’t use lights or sirens. They lost sight of the vehicle shortly after. Less than two kilometres down the road, the east-bound Gerald Guliker crossed over the median and hit an Envoy SUV travelling in the opposite direction.
“We do believe, because of his mental frame of mind, that, yes, he may have crossed the centre line intentionally to take his own life, and, unfortunately, did take the life of another man with him,” Const. Dunlop said.
Police think two of the adults in the SUV, including the driver, and the three-year-old girl were related. The two other adults were visiting from Washington state. All four passengers are expected to live, Const. Dunlop said, adding that the child restraint device the girl was sitting in probably saved her life.
Gerald had talked about committing suicide by crashing into another vehicle before, Anton said.
“He has talked about going that way, head on,” he said.
Gerald Guliker had struggled with a mental disability since a debilitating construction accident while working for a Chilliwack-based stucco company seven years ago. The accident put him in a coma for weeks and left him depressed and out of work, Anton Guliker said. Although he was on valium and antidepressants they didn’t always help.
“Quite often, when he gets depressed, he would stop taking medications,” Anton Guliker said. “Whether or not he was on medication Monday, I don’t know. He does take them most of the time.”
Anton Guliker said Gerald should have been put in a long-term care facility.
“We tried to find him one, but it’s, like, a couple-year wait to get into a facility,” he said.
“He’s a very nice guy, very talkative, very open to everybody, very helpful. Any time you needed a hand, he was there right away to help,” Mr. Guliker said. “But he just couldn’t cope with the depression any more.”