G4S armoured truck guard dies, 2nd hurt in Highway 63 crash
Employees work in same office as guards killed in ambush on U of A campus
Two armoured vehicle guards involved in a fatal crash on Highway 63 in northeast Alberta yesterday worked for the same company, G4S, as the four guards involved in a deadly ambush at the University of Alberta last year.
A 15-year employee, Rod Whalen, 60, was killed in the head-on crash just after 10 a.m. Tuesday, while Bill Lechky, who has been with the company for 20 years, was treated in hospital and released.
The driver of the other vehicle, a pick-up truck, also died.
The two employees worked in the cash-in-transit section, the same department that lost three of its guards when they were shot and killed by a fellow guard during an ATM robbery at HUB Mall on the University of Alberta campus.
Travis Baumgartner, an armoured car guard with G4S, who was sentenced in September to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years, shot four of his co-workers, three fatally, in the robbery in June 2012.
"It's very traumatic, that's why we're being very careful with details right now out of respect for our employees and their families and colleagues," Katie McLeod, director of communications for G4S. "It is a tragedy it is the same office where the incident occurred at the University of Alberta."
Senior G4S staff travelled to Edmonton after learning of the accident and counselling will be made available to staff, said McLeod.
RCMP described driving conditions on the busy highway — the main route between Edmonton and the oilsands centre of Fort McMurray — as "poor" at the time of the crash which remained closed for more than seven hours.
The province hopes to twin the highway — often referred to as the highway of death — by 2016.