Man convicted in dangerous driving case

A driver who ran over two people on a dirt road near Whitehorse was convicted of dangerous driving causing bodily harm last week.

A driver who ran over two people on a dirt road near Whitehorse was convicted of dangerous driving causing bodily harm last week.

Yukon Supreme Court Justice Leigh Gower rendered the oral decision on Oct. 14.

He also convicted Paul Maria Maximillian Kloepfer of failing to stop his vehicle with intent to escape civil or criminal liability and an additional count of dangerous driving.

The charges stem from an incident in August 2014 when a mother, her two sons and a neighbour were walking down Mosquito Road, about six kilometres south of the Carcross cutoff.

Because one of the victims was under 18 at the time of the trial, Gower ordered a publication ban on his name.

As a result, only the neighbour, Herbert Arnold, can be identified.

The group was walking around a bend on Mosquito Road when they heard the sound of engine.

All four people in the group testified Kloepfer accelerated when he saw them, striking Arnold and one of the teenagers with his car. Kloepefer didn’t stop, they told police.

But at trial Kloepfer gave a very different version of the events.

He testified that the victims, who lived near Kloepfer, didn’t like him and made up the charges to get him out of the neighbourhood.

Someone in the group put boulders on the road, forcing him off the road, he said, then the group spread out across the road to block his path.

He slowed down, he said, and when he passed them, Arnold hit his car with his walking stick.

Gower said such a conspiracy was unlikely.

“This theory suggests that after the accused encountered the four Crown witnesses… all four must have immediately conspired to create the illusion of a hit-and-run accident scene,” he said.

Based on the timing of each party’s calls to the police — Kloepfer also called the RCMP to report an act of mischief — the judge said it simply was not possible for the four victims to make up the scenario and get their stories straight.

Testimony from the four victims also doesn’t support the idea they hated Kloepfer to the extent they would plot against him, Gower said.

The defence’s case centred around inconsistencies between the four Crown witnesses.

But that’s to be expected when several people witness the same event, Gower said.

Gower said he found the other witnesses to be credible, apart from Arnold, who was argumentative at times, and because of a language barrier offered confusing testimony.

The defence also claimed Arnold and one of the teenagers faked their injuries or duped the doctors who examined them.

Gower rejected that theory outright.

The judge found that Kloepfer veered left to avoid the mother, who was on the right side of the road and as a result collided with one of the teenagers. He then sideswiped Arnold in the back, causing Arnold to lose his stick. The stick rebounded on the car and hit Arnold in the elbow.

While Kloepfer was originally charged with using his vehicle as a weapon, Gower found there was no evidence he hit the victims intentionally.

Instead, Kloepfer’s careless driving resulted in the collisions, Gower ruled.

In 2008 Kloepfer was sentenced to five years probation by an Alaskan court after he became belligerent towards Alaska park rangers during an encounter in Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park.

The rangers pepper sprayed him, and he later tried to escape from his handcuffs.

A sentencing date hasn’t been set yet.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Yukon’s Japanese association launches its first sake festival

Former president says the hope is to bring people together to learn

Yukon First Nations, AFN Yukon, CYFN sign climate change emergency declaration

The declaration was signed on the last day of the Yukon First Nations Climate Action Gathering

Yukon Fish and Game Association opposed to moose management proposals

Executive director Eric Schroff said he thinks Yukon government needs to be more transparent

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Casino taking more time with mine proposal

Statement not expected to be submitted to YESAB until Dec. 31, 2021

Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in to hold general election in April

On top of voting for chief, three councillors, citizens will vote for a deputy chief for first time

Yukon’s minimum wage set to increase by $1 to $13.71 in April

The increase will make the Yukon’s minimum wage the fourth-highest in the country

City news, briefly

Some of the decisions made at the Whitehorse council meeting on Feb 17

Yukonomist: Three questions on Yukon Zinc and China

The case heard recently in Yukon Supreme Court is particularly troubling

Commentary: Highway plans will negatively impact safety

The proposed Alaska Highway work will impact our safety, our communities and our environment.

Olivia Webster is the final musher to finish the Yukon Quest

‘I guess I’ve always been a grandpa’s girl and he’s my best friend, so I kind of wanted to be like him and so I did it’

Yukon’s Rob Cooke and company finish 10th in the 2020 Yukon Quest

Cooke and his 14 Siberians crossed the finish line at 9:07 a.m. on Feb. 15 in Whitehorse

Lights Out Yukon Invitational Basketball Tournament bigger than ever in sixth year

“Honestly, it was the smoothest tournament I think we’ve run yet”

Most Read