Yukon City Council denies claims in officer-involved crash

Insurance adjuster finds ‘no liability’ by City of Yukon

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By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

The Yukon City Council has denied tort claims filed by the driver and owner of a car damaged during a traffic accident that involved a Yukon police unit.

The Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group recently informed claimants Ashley Matson and Crystal Akerman it was recommending their civil claims be denied.

“We find no liability on the City of Yukon’s part regarding this incident,” claims adjuster David Dalton wrote in letters to Matson and Akerman.

This incident refers to a three-vehicle, two-injury traffic collision that occurred at 6:05 p.m. Sept. 24 at the intersection of Cornwell and Vandament.

The crash involved a black 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe driven by Yukon police Capt. Michael Walker, a white 2004 Toyota Sienna minivan driven by Yukon’s Linda LaBass and a gray 2009 Ford Mustang driven by Yukon’s Matson (and owned by Akerman).

Capt. Walker was on duty when he received a welfare check call from the Yukon Police communications center, according to a traffic collision report.

The officer initiated the Tahoe’s emergency lights and “hit a short burst of the vehicle’s siren as he began to merge out into the intersection on a red light to respond to the call,” according to the report.

As Capt. Walker proceeded northbound through the intersection, his SUV was struck by LaBass’ westbound minivan.

The impact forced the Chevy Tahoe to spin around and strike the front of Matson’s Ford Mustang, which was southbound but stopped at the red light.

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‘VERY BRIGHT’ SUNLIGHT

Labass told police the sunlight was “very bright,” but she could see she had a green light, so she proceeded through the intersection.

“When I entered the intersection, I hit a black vehicle,” she wrote in a statement. “I did not see vehicle until it was in front of me.”

Officer Walker, in a statement, said he believed the minivan was traveling above 40 miles per hour into the bright sun. The speed limit is 35 mph.

“Her view of me was blocked by a line of traffic in the turn lane and the bright sun which covered the traffic light,” he wrote. “I quickly gave the patrol car gas in an effort to avoid the collision. The driver of the minivan reported she never saw me.

“The van struck me in the rear passenger tire, spinning my vehicle 180 degrees coming to a rest against a Ford Mustang waiting at the southbound turn lane.”

Labass and Matson both sustained possible external trunk injuries but refused to be taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment, according to the traffic collision report.

The claimants have 180 days from when their claims were denied, to file a lawsuit challenging the decision under state law.

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