On Monday, Nov. 13, on what felt like “any other day” to Layla Legebokoff, she loaded up her truck with her recycling and garbage.
Roads were slippery, so she said she did some hard stops in her neighbourhood to test them and make sure she was comfortable.
But the 27-year-old single mom said while she knew there were some some slippery spots, she thought they were well within her abilities and so she headed out.
“I’m a very confident winter driver,” she said, as she spoke to Black Press Media.
It was 10:30 a.m., and she got as far as Necoslie Road, but unfortunately, she didn’t make it to her errand.
As she neared the sharp right just before the transfer station, she said she had slowed down as she headed into it, but as she entered the turn, her truck just kept going straight.
“I tried to do what you are supposed to do and nothing happened,” she said.
Instead, the truck went into the trailer of a loaded logging truck coming the other way.
“I remember hearing the sounds and seeing the logs coming at me and thinking ‘This is how I die,’” she recalled.
Thankfully, it wasn’t the end for her, and she came back to consciousness with the engine of her truck pushed into the cab, pinning her in place. It took her a bit to realize she wouldn’t be able to move the seat or move really much at all.
The space was so tight, her left arm had to hang out of the window and her legs were pinned down and to the right.
The Fort St. James Volunteer Fire Department came and extracted her from the vehicle, cutting her out, which she said felt like the longest wait of her life.
“I was so thankful I wasn’t bleeding out,” she said.
In fact, they didn’t find any breaks, and was she able to be treated in the Fort St. James hospital and was released by the afternoon.
She now has severe bruising on her left side, whiplash, cuts, bruises and a concussion.
“I feel like I’m running on Windows 98,” she said, of how muddled her brain feels.
She said the glass in her face scared her. Initially, she thought she had lost her vision, because when she first woke up, she couldn’t see.
“All I could feel was red hot burning in my eyes,” she recalled.
While Legebokoff is grateful her daughter was at school and she herself survived the crash, she is now facing what will come next as she waits to hear from ICBC about the insurance on her truck, which she needed to get to and from work, including to remote locations. Legebokoff was working towards becoming a millwright.
“I can’t imagine turning wrenches right now,” she said, due to the physical nature of the work as well as the need to be highly aware of your surroundings for safety.
Now she has to figure out how she’ll make ends meet until she’s able to return to work and how she’ll get there.
“I fixed her up so that it was reliable and I could drive across provinces for (mill) shutdowns,” she said of her truck, noting it feels like a waste now, all the work and money she put into it.
Her friend and neighbour Taylor Hansen wanted to help her out, concerned how Legebokoff would manage financially.
Hansen herself has been dealing with the fallout from her husband breaking his back at work, and she said despite filing everything correctly, the system did not provide them enough support for their their family fast enough. The family has had to rely on local resources like the food bank to help get them through, so she worried how Legebokoff would manage.
Legebokoff losing her ability to get to and from work, which she won’t even be able to physically do for some time, will be a struggle.
“A situation like this can just be absolutely devastating, especially being a single mom,” said Hansen about her friend.
So in the hope of taking the pressure off of Legebokoff while she’s recovering, Hansen asked if she could start a GoFundMe for her friend and Legebokoff agreed.
“It’s just so hard to stay afloat in this day and age, our mental health is just everything while we’re healing,” said Hansen.
“It really does take a village.”
Taylor Hansen’s GoFundMe for Layla Legebokokff: Help single mom after collision wth logging truck