Jennifer Skookum, the woman injured in a two-truck crash near the Lake Laberge campground last December that left both drivers dead, has filed a lawsuit against both of their estates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Passenger sues estates of drivers killed in 2018 North Klondike Highway crash

Jennifer Skookum claims she was left with lasting injuries from the December 2018 collision

A Yukon woman injured in a two-truck crash near the Lake Laberge campground last December that left both drivers dead has filed a lawsuit against both of their estates.

In a statement of claim filed to the Yukon Supreme Court June 14, Jennifer Skookum alleges that the negligence of both or either Robert Lafleur and Harry Johnnie, both deceased, led to the collision that left her with facial burns and fractured bones.

According to the document and police reports from the time, Skookum was a passenger in Johnnie’s 2001 Dodge Ram on the evening of Dec. 18, 2018, when it collided with Lafleur’s 2001 Ford F-150 at Kilometre 225 of the North Klondike Highway.

The trucks had been travelling in opposite directions, and 52-year-old Johnnie, from Carmacks, and 81-year-old Lafleur, from Faro, were both killed in the crash.

Johnnie’s truck caught fire and a passerby was able to pull Skookum out of the burning vehicle before authorities arrived on scene. She was taken to Whitehorse General Hospital for treatment.

The highway was closed in both directions for about six and a half hours for investigation and clean-up.

The lawsuit alleges that Skookum suffered facial burns, a fractured pelvis, left wrist and ankles, musculoskeletal injuries and emotional and psychological injuries from the crash.

As a result, the statement of claim continues, Skookum has experienced “a loss of the quality of life, including the impairment of the ability to engage in domestic, social and recreational activities” and a “loss of income and loss of earning capacity.”

Skookum has also “required and in the future will require additional health care, home care supplies, and other assistance,” the statement of claim says, and “has received extraordinary care and assistance from her First Nation, family members, and community members.”

The document alleges that the negligence of either Johnnie or Lafleur, or both of them combined, caused the crash. The alleged negligence includes “failing to keep a proper or any lookout;” “driving without due care and attention;” “driving at an excessive or improper rate of speed;” failing to keep the trucks “under proper control;” “crossing the centre line when not authorized to do so;” and “failing to stop” the trucks “reasonably or in time to avoid the crash.”

Skookum is seeking general and special damages from Johnnie and Lafleur’s estates, as well as legal costs.

Neither estate has filed a response yet, and the allegations in the lawsuit have not been tested in court.

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

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