'It's tragic,' says Behchoko chief after young woman dies in fatal crash on Highway 3
2 people with non-life-threatening injuries and 2 others are 'unaccounted for,' say RCMP
Police say a person has died and RCMP are looking for two other occupants of a vehicle, after a crash on Highway 3 near Behchokǫ̀, N.W.T., on Wednesday.
At about 5 p.m., police were dispatched to the single-vehicle crash near Mosquito Creek, south of Behchokǫ̀, say police in a news release sent Thursday morning.
"Members located a vehicle on its roof, about 150 feet off the roadway," the release reads.
Two people were transported to Yellowknife to treat non-life-threatening injuries, say RCMP. A third occupant, a woman from the community, was found dead at the scene, say police.
Two more people said to be in the vehicle were "unaccounted for" when police arrived at the site, and RCMP say they're still trying to locate them.
When these things happen to a family, it affects the whole community.- Chief Clifford Daniels
The RCMP's collision analyst unit did a forensic exam at the scene, say police. The community's ambulance and fire department members were also on site to help RCMP.
Police say they believe drugs and/or alcohol is a factor in the crash.
The highway — also called Yellowknife Highway — was closed at kilometre 233 on Wednesday night, according to a N.W.T. Department of Infrastructure tweet sent around 9:30 p.m. It had reopened as of about 1 a.m. Thursday.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NWThwy3?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NWThwy3</a> is closed at km 233 due to an incident. Will tweet updates. // <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TNOroute3?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TNOroute3</a> est fermée au km 233 en raison d'un incident.—@GNWT_INF
Chief makes emotional plea to young people
Behchokǫ̀ Chief Clifford Daniels told CBC that the incident involved a rollover in a vehicle with five young passengers, one of whom has died.
"We lost ... one young Tłı̨chǫ lady," said Daniels. "It's tragic. The community, I'd say, is in shock."
Daniels says the accident was unexpected. It was a nice sunny day, with good weather and road conditions.
"It's very, very unfortunate," said Daniels. "On social media, everybody's grieving with them, sending their condolences."
He cited the current public health orders as a challenge during a time of grief like this for his community.
"It's very hard during a time like this, when you need to meet, that [physical distancing] is keeping us apart. It's something we are trying to adapt to."
Daniels made an an emotional plea to the young people in his community.
"Listen to your parents; listen to your relatives," Daniels said. "People do care and love you out there. When these things happen to a family, it affects the whole community."
RCMP are investigating the fatal crash along with the N.W.T. chief coroner's office.
Anyone with information is asked to call the local RCMP unit at 867-392-1111.
With files from Cecilia Boyd and Katie Toth