Whitehorse schools offer counselling following deadly crash

Counsellors will be available this week at Vanier Catholic Secondary School to help students affected by a deadly motor-vehicle crash on the weekend.

2 young people dead, 1 in serious but stable condition following Saturday crash

Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Whitehorse is making counsellors available to students following the death of student Clare Cherepak, 15, in a car crash this weekend. (Brian Boyle/CBC)

Counsellors are available this week at two Whitehorse high schools to help students affected by a deadly motor-vehicle crash on the weekend.

Two people died in a crash around 3 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of the Alaska Highway and the Hamilton Boulevard extension.

Police say a four-door Honda Accord, travelling northbound on the Alaska Highway, collided with a semi truck pulling a B-train, which was southbound. The highway was closed for at least 12 hours Saturday.

“It’s believed that the car pulled in front of the truck but the reason behind that is not known at this time,” said RCMP Constable Christine Grant. “We have the death of two young people and another person injured so it’s just a really sad thing.”

One of the passengers, Brendan Kinney, 20, was pronounced dead at the scene. Clare Cherepak, 15, was taken to hospital where she died later that morning.

An 18-year-old male was taken to hospital and later medevaced to Vancouver where he is in serious but stable condition.

The driver, a 15-year-old girl, was also taken to hospital where she was treated and released. The driver of the semi-truck wasn't injured physically. 

"You can just imagine emotionally he was just broken up,” an emotional Grant said. "Hug your kids and look out for one another," she added. 

School mourns Clare Cherepak, 15

Vanier Catholic Secondary School principal Ryan Sikkes posted a note on the school’s website offering condolences to the family of Cherepak.

“Her smile, warmth and humour will be missed by staff and students alike,” Sikkes wrote.

In response to the sudden death, the school, which is still closed for summer holidays, will be open to offer counselling.

Counsellors will be available from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. today and from noon to 4 p.m. from Tuesday until Friday. People are also invited to post messages and photos on a wall in the school’s front foyer, or deliver them to the school to be passed along to the family.

A memorial service for Cherepak will be held Thursday at 2 p.m. at the school. Her family is requesting that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Whitehorse Food Bank, Blood Ties Four Directions and the Association for Helping Yukon Youth in Need.

Counsellors will also be on hand at Porter Creek Secondary school from noon to 4 p.m. this week. Kinney was a graduate of the school.  

RCMP are still investigating the accident.