Weather and alcohol intoxication contributed to retired Yukon doctor’s death, says coroner’s report

Lis Densmore, 69, died after driving her car off a steep bank and trying to walk home in January

Alcohol and weather conditions both contributed to the death of a retired longtime Yukon doctor who was trying to walk home after driving off an embankment along Cowley Lake Road in January, a report by the Yukon coroner’s service has confirmed.

The report, dated Nov. 1, classifies 69-year-old Lis Densmore’s manner of death on Jan. 6 as accidental. The cause of death is listed at hypothermia, with weather conditions and alcohol intoxication listed as significant factors in Densmore’s death.

According to the report, Densmore was at a “social event” the evening of Jan. 5 but left around 8 pm. “due to illness.”

The next morning, a friend drove to Densmore’s home off Cowley Lake Road to do a welfare check after Densmore couldn’t be reached by phone, the report continues, finding tracks left by a vehicle that had not made a sharp left turn off the road and drove over a “steep bluff” instead.

A neighbour climbed down the embankment, the report says, and found Densmore’s vehicle.

Her body was found 25 metres away “in a prone position.”

“Tracks fresh in the snow indicated that Ms. Densmore had exited her vehicle on foot and was attempting to find her way to a path which would have led to her residence,” the report says.

There had been “moderate to heavy snowfall” at the time of the incident, according to the report, with winds blowing from the southeast at between 21 and 35 kilometres per hour and temperatures ranging from -5.3 C to -12.4 C. It would have also been dark at the time of the accident.

Toxicology testing found that Densmore had a blood alcohol content of 0.27 per cent, more than three times the legal driving limit.

An autopsy performed on Densmore’s body found she had suffered minor injuries but none that would have contributed to her death, the report says.

The coroner did not make any recommendations.

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

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