The death of a tow truck operator on the Trans-Canada Highway in western Manitoba is being called a "freak industry accident" by his colleagues.
Jason Schaffer of Accel Towing and Transport in Brandon, Man., was hooking up a vehicle on Monday when it moved forward, rolling over him while he was under the vehicle.
"The accident was a freak industry accident; it did not include any other vehicle that was passing the scene," Ron Lamont, a colleague and friend, said in a company statement issued Tuesday.
Schaffer and his wife, Angela, co-owned the towing company. Lamont said Schaffer "will be sadly missed by all that have come to know him."
"The loss of our leader leaves a vast hole in our organization, but the team of employees is doing their best to minimize the effect on the community, that we serve," the statement read in part.
Tow-trucking community 'shook up'
Schaffer and his wife started Accel Towing in 2005 and built it up to be the largest towing company in Brandon, employing 20 people.
Kevin Ouellette of ABC Towing in Brandon says Schaffer's death is being felt in the local tow-trucking community.
"It could happen to anyone, and Brandon's lost a very well-known and qualified tow truck member of their family," he said.
"Everbody's a little shook up that this is this close to home, that something like this happens … reminds us just how dangerous this job is."
Ouellette said his company is now sending two trucks to all highway towing jobs as an increased safety measure.
A trust fund has been established for Schaffer's children at the Royal Bank in Brandon.
Accel Towing's full statement
The following is the full text of a statement issued on Tuesday by Ron Lamont, a friend and colleague of Jason Schaffer at Accel Towing and Transport:
The accident was a freak industry accident; it did not include any other vehicle that was passing the scene.
Something happened causing the vehicle, which he was hooking up to, to move forward and roll over the driver, while he was under the vehicle.
It is with great sorrow that we announce the lost [sic] of a valuable member of our company. Jason was the co-owner of Accel Towing and Transportation with his wife Angela. He will be sadly missed by all that have come to know him.
He started Accel from the grass roots in 2005 and has built it into the largest towing company in this area, employing over 20 employees.
He was a good business man and received recognition for this as the Business Entrepreneur in 2011.
He has been able to establish Accel as a leader in the community and industry, as he has been able to employ a group of individuals that make up an outstanding team. He treated his employees more as friends than employees.
The loss of our leader leaves a vast hole in our organization, but the team of employees is doing their best to minimize the effect on the community, that we serve.
The employees are in doing their duties as they feel Jason would want, as Accel was his dream and passion. Things are running as near as possible to normal, but with this situation at hand and us faced with cooler than normal temperatures, the demands on the employees are high.
All we can ask is that as the employees are there supporting the community in their duties, that the community supports us in our loss.
We would also like to thank the members and businesses of the community that have already came forward with their support for us.
There has been a trust fund set up for his surviving children, it is at 18th and McTavish Royal Bank, Tyler and Ashley Trust Fund account # 00787-003-506-9877.