Driver hospitalizes Port Alberni family vacationing in Washington

Driver hospitalizes Port Alberni family vacationing in Washington

A weekend of fun and games turned into a nightmare for a Vancouver Island family visiting Washington State for a lahal tournament.

Lareina Lucas and her parents travelled to Auburn, WA, for the Muckleshoot Stick Games 2023, a popular Indigenous event.

On April 8, while on their way back to their motel from an event, a driver on the highway swerved into their lane and collided with the family’s vehicle in a disastrous head-on collision.

“I remember looking at my mom, and I was like, ‘Why is that truck sitting right there? It’s got no lights on.’ Next thing you know, we smashed right into it,” said Lucas.

The Port Alberni Indigenous newspaper Ha-Shilth-Sa is reporting that the driver involved was allegedly drunk and charged with Driving Under the Influence and Vehicular Assault.

CHEK News has reached out Washington State Patrol to confirm this information.

“My leg is busted. I’m in so much pain with my leg,” said Lucas.

As a result of the crash, Lareina Lucas and both her parents were badly injured. All three of them were taken to different hospitals the night of the crash. Lucas herself had to be airlifted.

“I got my arms both casted up until I get surgery done on them,” said the mother.

She required five surgeries for compound fractures in both of her arms and a broken leg. She also has a laceration across her forehead.

Her father broke his collarbone, sternum and pelvis, and her mother has broken several ribs and her wrist.

To make matters worse, they didn’t have travel insurance — and they say the driver who hit them was licensed but was operating the vehicle without coverage.

After hiring a Seattle-based lawyer, the family tells CHEK News that they were able to find a way to have their medical bills paid through other insurance routes.

“The lady called us about two days and said, ‘Oh, don’t worry about the medical bills, once the paperwork goes through and everything we need should cover,” said the mother. “I was like, ‘Even my parent?’ and she said yes.”

During her time in hospital, her daughter Lakisha Lewis started a 50/50 raffle on Facebook so that family could travel to visit.

More than 300 entries were submitted, bringing the pot to over $2,000. Lewis says the winner of the raffle ended donated back his winnings.

“It’s going to be a long road to recovery, but I’m glad we have each other now. I’m glad we’re gonna make our way home finally,” said Lewis.

All three members were discharged from the hospitals Sunday morning and are expecting to return to Canada that evening. Lucas says a Nanaimo hospital has a bed ready for her to continue her recovery.

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