Mike Thomas/Yukon News The law courts in Whitehorse.

Mother of truck driver killed in 2018 Dempster crash sues YG, grader driver

Alan Carl William Blake died after his truck collided with a grader on the Dempster Highway in 2018

The mother of a truck driver killed in a crash with a grader on the Dempster Highway last year is suing the Yukon government and grader driver, alleging that negligence on their parts led to her son’s death.

In a statement of claim filed to the Yukon Supreme Court Feb. 6, Fort McPherson, N.W.T., resident Julie Anne Blake alleges that she and her partner, Alan Blake Senior, have suffered financial losses following the death of their son, Alan Carl William Blake, in 2018.

According to the document, Alan Carl William Blake, also known as Alan Jr., was driving a semi-tractor trailer for work on Feb. 11, 2018, and heading north on the Dempster Highway.

The truck was at or around Kilometre 441, the statement of claim says, when a southbound Yukon government grader being driven by Yukon government employee Steven Bassett entered the northbound lane, resulting in a crash that killed Alan Jr.

The lawsuit alleges that the crash was caused either by Bassett’s negligence, the Yukon government’s negligence, or a combination of both.

Bassett’s alleged negligence includes “failing to keep a proper or any lookout;” “driving the Grader when his ability to do so was impaired by the consumption of alcohol or drugs;” “driving the Grader recklessly or with a conscious indifference to the consequences and in a manner likely to endanger the life and safety of others;” driving at an “unreasonable” speed; and either driving a grader without effective brakes or failing to to use the brakes to avoid a collision.

The Yukon government’s alleged negligence, meanwhile, includes allowing Bassett to drive the grader despite knowing that he was “incompetent” to do so; allowing Bassett to drive the grader while knowing that he did not have adequate training; failing to properly and adequately maintain and repair the grader; and failing to have the grader “equipped with adequate headlights, windshield wipers, tires, warning devices and any other items necessary for the proper and safe operation of the Grader under the circumstances.”

The statement of claim adds that the Yukon government is “vicariously liable for the negligent acts of its employee, Basset.”

“As a result of the negligence of the defendant in causing the (motor vehicle accident), Alan Jr. was fatally injured and died,” the document says.

At the time of the crash, Alan Jr. was living at his parent’s house and paying them $1,000 per month, according to the claim, money which they put towards household expenses. As a result of his death, both Julie Anne and Alan Senior “have suffered and continue to suffer” financial loss. As well, the document says, Julie Anne, the administrator of Alan Jr.’s estate, has incurred further expenses, including the cost of Alan Jr.’s funeral.

The lawsuit is seeking compensation for the monetary losses to Julie Anne and Alan Senior as a result of Alan Jr.’s death, the expenses incurred by Julie Anne as the administrator of his estate, $37,500 to each parent under the Yukon’s Fatal Accidents Act, and legal costs.

The allegations have not yet been tested in court.

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

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