Saskatchewan

7-year-old girl among 3 people killed in highway crash Sunday near Balgonie, Sask.

RCMP say road conditions had been rapidly deteriorating in the area at the time.

'She was a mischievous, funny, beautiful little girl,' the 7-year-old's aunt said

Skyrah Tawiyaka loved her style, fashion and makeup, her aunt Darla McArthur said. (Submitted by Darla McArthur)

A seven-year-old girl was one of three people killed in a crash Sunday on Highway 10 near Balgonie, Sask.

Skyrah Tawiyaka was one of four sisters, aged seven to 14, in a car along with a 59-year-old driver and a 32-year-old passenger headed home to Regina on Sunday night. RCMP say road conditions had been rapidly deteriorating in the area after a recent rainfall and dropping temperatures. 

A truck with two men in it went out of control while travelling north on Highway 10 and collided with Tawiyaka's family's car, according to RCMP.

RCMP say the 59-year-old driver and 32-year-old passenger in Tawiyaka's car were both killed at the scene, while Tawiyaka and her sisters were taken to hospital with serious to critical injuries. Tawiyaka later died in hospital. 

The two men in the truck had minor injuries.

Skyrah Tawiyaka was seven years old at the time of the crash on Sunday. She died in hospital. (Submitted by Darla McArthur)

Darla McArthur, Tawiyaka's aunt, said the seven-year-old was also known by her Indigenous name of Mother Earth, Sparkling Woman.

"She was a mischievous, funny, beautiful, little girl. Always happy," McArthur said. "She would always come running up to us and say, 'Hi Auntie.'"

McArthur's six-year-old daughter D-Nelle and Tawiyaka were inseparable, McArthur said.

"Climbing around, doing just little girl things. The girliest girls you could ever think of," McArthur said. "Skyrah was so girly thinking about her hair, dresses, shoes, purses, makeup."

Skyrah Tawiyaka (left) and D-Nelle were the closest of friends who always shared clothes, and were getting into trouble together, Darla McArthur said. (Submitted by Darla McArthur)

D-Nelle has been quiet Monday, McArthur said.

Tawiyaka was close with every one of her siblings, but had a special connection with her mom, Alma Rope, McArthur said. 

"Their relationship was amazing. Skyrah always climbed on her mom every time she seen her mom," McArthur said. "Alma was very affectionate with her kids too, so she would always kiss her — they were very very close."

Tawiyaka's family was returning from a visit with extended family in Standing Buffalo First Nation when the crash happened. A sister, Serenity, is being watched for head trauma and another, Savannah, has a broken femur, but those two will be OK, McArthur said.

I could only imagine how that feels. I just want her to be OK. This isn't going to be easy.​- Darla McArthur

The 59-year-old driver was Tawiyaka's grandfather, Jim, a good man who spent every other weekend with the girls, McArthur said. 

McArthur went to Alma's home Monday morning, she said. 

"I could only imagine how that feels. I just want her to be OK. This isn't going to be easy," she said.

"We lost a part of our life today."

For McArthur, Tawiyaka will always be that amazing little girl who made sure everyone was included. 

"Just a friendly girl — She was just happy just very, very happy." 

About the Author

Heidi Atter

AP/Journalist

Heidi Atter is a journalist working in Regina. She started with CBC Saskatchewan after a successful internship and has a passion for character-driven stories. Heidi has worked as a reporter, web writer, associate producer and show director so far, and has worked in Edmonton, at the Wainwright military base, and in Adazi, Latvia. Story ideas? Email heidi.atter@cbc.ca.