Family of Alberta village worker killed on the job left devastated after charges stayed

The death of 21-year-old Martina Levick in Dewberry in 2017 left her family in shock. Since then, it's been nearly four years of court battles to try and get some answers.

‘It’s basically just been swept away’ 

Dwight and Gwen Levick pose with their son Trevor, and daughters Martina, middle, and Rebecca, right. (Submitted by Rebecca Levick)

Dwight Levick and his family have been fighting for answers in their daughter Martina's death for nearly four years.

On Friday, they were told by Alberta Justice their fight is officially over, and that charges in Martina Levick's workplace death are being stayed.

"Disappointed, angry, just kind of devastated," said Levick, speaking on the phone from his farm in Porcupine Plain, Sask. 

"We thought this would be our chance to have some accountability for what happened to our daughter, a chance to have our final say in it. But, you know, it's basically just been swept away."

Martina was 21 when she died.

At the time of her death, she worked as the public works foreman for the Village of Dewberry, Alta., 200 kilometres east of Edmonton. Her duties included everything from water and sewage plant operations to fixing potholes.

On June 13, 2017, RCMP responded to the workyard in Dewberry about a report of a sudden death. Levick was found underneath a riding lawnmower she had been trying to fix.

Two years after the accident, Alberta OHS charged the Village of Dewberry with seven counts of violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act in relation to Levick's death.
Martina Levick, 21, died on June 13, 2017, in a workplace accident. ((Submitted by Rebecca Levick) )

But that didn't get the family any answers. Instead it was one court delay after another. 

"Every time we drove out to Lloydminster for a court date, you showed up there, a five-hour drive and we were told it was being delayed for six weeks," Levick said.

Eventually, the family was told the Village of Dewberry had initiated a stay of charges application. They were told Dewberry was in financial trouble and that the village was being absorbed by the County of Vermilion River.

"We hoped that somebody would step up and take accountability,' Levick said.

"Once the Village of Dewberry was dissolved and taken over by the County, they feel it's in the best interest of the people that it doesn't proceed, and that is strictly on Alberta Justice."

Calls and emails were made to Alberta Justice for a response to why the charges were stayed. 

'Extremely frustrating'

In an email response, an official said, "The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) has directed a stay of proceedings and do not anticipate the matter to proceed."

On Friday, several family members met virtually with officials from Alberta Justice, and Occupational Health and Safety where they were given the same explanation. 

Levick's older sister, Rebecca, was on the call too from her home in Vancouver. She says it's been a long journey for her family.

"It was extremely frustrating," said Rebecca Levick, who is 18 months older than her sister.

 "Unfortunately it wasn't in the cards for us to get that justice and awareness ... that's the biggest part that we're missing out on with these charges being stayed."

Rebecca added that her family wanted to make sure people were aware of safety risks that city workers like her sister face, because this is often overlooked in small towns.

For Dwight Levick, the legal battle is officially over, but he says the disappointment will take some time.

"The thing that disappoints me the most today, I promised my daughter somebody would be held accountable for what happened, and I feel like I've let her down.