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A 56-year-old Delta, B.C., woman has been charged with drunk driving in connection with the death of four-year-old Alexa Middelaer, who was hit and killed by a car as she stood near the road to feed a horse.

Carol Berner has been charged with impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm, dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm. She is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 9.

The charges come nearly seven months after Alexa was killed and her aunt severely injured when a car travelling north on 64th Street in Delta plowed into them, hit a parked car and finally came to rest on a power pole.

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Alexa's grandparents, who had been sitting in the parked car to watch the little girl pet the horses, received minor injuries. Her aunt spent some time in the hospital and is still recovering. The scene was chaotic, with fire and police crews scrambling to attend to victims.

At the time of the incident, police said speed and alcohol were contributing factors. A driver at the scene was given a breathalyzer test. As weeks and then months went by after the May 17 incident, Delta police came under pressure to lay charges. Last month, police issued a public appeal for a witness to come forward, saying afterward that the person had responded to their plea and provided information that helped the investigation.

Delta police chief Jim Cessford yesterday acknowledged public concerns over the lengthy investigation. "I must stress that investigations are complex and our officers have remained steadfast and committed to conducting a thorough and impartial investigation," he said.

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