Greyhound Canada is suing the owners of a Rancheria motel and Yukon’s minister of highways and public works after an accident on the highway cost the company more than $300,000. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)

Greyhound suing Rancheria motel, Yukon government over collision with backhoe

In the lawsuit, Greyhound alleges that the January 2017 accident cost it more than $300,000

Greyhound Canada is suing the owners of a Rancheria motel and Yukon’s minister of highways and public works over a crash allegedly caused by a bus swerving to avoid a backhoe parked on the Alaska Highway.

In a statement of claim filed to the Yukon Supreme Court Jan. 19, Greyhound Canada Transportation ULC alleges that negligence on the part of Denis and Linda Bouchard, Rancheria Hotel Limited, Lybouch Holdings Inc. and the minister of highways and public works led to the accident.

The company alleges the incident cost it more than $300,000.

According to the claim, the accident happened on Jan. 22, 2017, around 12:45 a.m., when a Greyhound coach bus driver towing a pup-trailer was travelling eastbound on the Alaska Highway near Rancheria. The driver, the claim says, “unknowingly came upon the Backhoe disabled, unmarked, temporarily abandoned and partially obstructing the eastbound lane of travel on the Alaska Highway so that he was not reasonably able to see and avoid the resulting hazard.”

The driver swerved to avoid the backhoe and crossed over onto the highway’s westbound lane, at which point the bus and pup-trailer both “made contact” with the backhoe and an oncoming tractor-trailer.

The bus and pup-trailer were so badly damaged they both had to be written off, the suit alleges that as a result, Greyhound lost the use of a coach bus for 106 days, had to cover the costs of towing the wreckage, and for passenger meals as well as a car rental for the driver.

In a breakdown of damages, Greyhound alleges that it lost $156,275 on the coach, $23,094 on the pup-trailer, $30,388.57 on towing fees, $113.30 on passenger meals, and $603.75 on the car rental for the driver. It also alleges it lost $106,000 in potential revenue for the days it did not have use of a coach bus, adding up to a total of $316,474.62 in damages.

“The Accident and all damages resulting therefrom, were caused solely as a result of the negligence” of the Bouchards, the lawsuit alleges, adding that Rancheria Hotel Limited and Lybouch Holdings Inc. are “vicariously liable.”

Greyhound claims the negligence includes leaving the backhoe on the highway “outside of any city, town or village without having its tail lamps illuminated, reflectors which are approved by regulations affixed to it, or a light displayed on it which is visible from a distance of at least 30 metres,” “failing to remove the Backhoe from the highway for a period of several days despite it being a hazard to other highway users” and “creating a hazard by leaving the Backhoe unmarked and obstructing the highway.”

The accident was also the result of negligence and “breaches of the statutory duties” by the minister of the department of highways and public works, the lawsuit continues, claiming that the negligence includes failing to inspect the Alaska Highway “to ensure it remained free of hazards and obstructions;” “failing to mark the backhoe with lights or hazard warnings so as to alert other highway users as to its presence;” “failing to remove … the Backhoe from the highway for a period of several days despite it being a hazard to other highway users;” and “failing to properly monitor and inspect the Alaska Highway 1 so as to identify the backhoe as a hazard to highway users.”

The allegations have not been tested in court.

Greyhound is seeking to be awarded joint damages of $316,474.62 as well as legal costs.

A spokesperson for the Department of Highways and Public Works declined to comment as the matter is before the courts. An email to the Bouchards was not returned before press time, and a phone number associated with the Rancheria motel was not in service.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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