Court hears conflicting testimony

It's been an emotional start to the trial of Michael Schmidt. The first day of testimony ended with both Schmidt and his family in tears as a video interview of his police interview was played for the court.

It’s been an emotional start to the trial of Michael Schmidt.

The first day of testimony ended with both Schmidt and his family in tears as a video interview of his police interview was played for the court.

Schmidt, 30, faces six charges stemming from a December 2009 car accident that severely injured two of his friends, leaving one, Jessica Frotten, confined to a wheelchair.

The charges include both impaired driving causing bodily harm and the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm.

Schmidt broke down several times during the police interview with Const. Derek Turner on the day of the crash.

When told Frotten had been medevaced to Edmonton for surgery on her back, Schmidt began to sob uncontrollably.

“Oh my God, Jess, Oh my God she might die,” he said between sobs. “She was looking right at me, smiling.”

It took several minutes for him to regain composure.

“I’ll never make up for it,” he said. “I hurt my friend – I’ll never be able to sleep again.”

The court heard testimony from several witnesses describing what happened the day of the crash.

The day before, Michael Sanderson, 31, had returned home to Whitehorse on leave from the Navy.

He and Schmidt spent the night drinking in a cabin on Hot Springs Road.

The next day they drove in to Whitehorse.

Sanderson said he continued drinking throughout the day, but Schmidt didn’t.

They met up with Frotten and picked up some beer at the Yukon Brewery where she worked.

The trio had lunch at the Airport Chalet where they shared a pitcher of beer.

Heather Steinhagen, their waitress, testified she didn’t think Schmidt was intoxicated when they left the restaurant.

Frotten testified all three were drinking beer in the car after lunch, something Schmidt denied in his interview with police.

They were on their way to Haines Junction when Schmidt lost control of his grey Honda Civic a few kilometres past the Takhini River Bridge.

Speed may have been a factor.

They were going 140 kilometres an hour – so fast that she hit her head when the car went over a bump, said Frotten.

Sanderson testified he didn’t have any concerns about Schmidt’s sobriety or speed. Though Sanderson admitted to being very drunk at the time.

In his police interview Schmidt denies speeding.

He said the car started hitting frost heaves, so he started to slow down and that’s when he lost control of the car.

“I didn’t see a bump or anything,” he said. “It just threw the car sideways into the ditch.”

Schmidt, who was wearing his seatbelt, was uninjured, but both Sanderson and Frotten were thrown from the vehicle.

Sanderson broke his right shoulder, left leg, multiple ribs and tore the ligaments in his left knee.

Frotten was severely injured.

She suffered a broken back, torn aorta, broken feet, punctured lungs, several broken ribs and a concussion.

School bus driver Charlie Mackenzie was the first on the crash site.

He radioed for help.

Soon after, Eleanor Emke drove up.

She testified Schmidt didn’t seem intoxicated, though his clothes did smell of alcohol.

They all got into her pickup and headed to the hospital, but were met by Emergency Medical Services a few kilometres down the road.

The trial continues today.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters on May 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Cap on rent increases will take effect May 15

The rollout of the policy is creating ‘chaos,’ says opposition

Yukon News file
A 21-year-old man is in custody after a stabbing in Porter Creek on May 14.
One man in hospital, another in custody, after alleged stabbing in Porter Creek

A police dog was used to track the suspect who was later arrested in a wooded area.

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Most Read