October 10, 2017 2:00 pm
Updated: October 10, 2017 8:07 pm

Fuel corporation ‘dismayed’ by fatal Thorsby gas-and-dash

WATCH ABOVE: A 54-year-old gas station owner was killed on Friday while trying to chase down a vehicle that didn't pay for fuel in Thorsby, Alta. Now, the Alberta NDP is vowing to make changes to prevent similar tragedies. Tom Vernon explains.

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The corporation that operates the Alberta gas station franchise where an Edmonton man was killed during a gas-and-dash on Friday said it was “dismayed to learn of the tragic and unexpected death.”

The Parkland Fuel Corporation released a statement on Tuesday morning, which read:

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“The Parkland family was dismayed to learn of the tragic and unexpected death of Ki Yun Jo, a valued partner, and the owner of the Fas Gas in Thorsby, Alta. Our thoughts and support are with his family, friends and colleagues and we will be cooperating with local authorities who are investigating this sad incident.”

Jo, 54, died Friday afternoon after he was struck by a white truck about a block away from the Thorsby Fas Gas. Jo’s family said the truck tried to drive off after failing to pay a nearly $200 bill.

READ MORE: Gas station owner struck and killed during gas-and-dash in Thorsby

Police are still looking for the suspect(s) and the vehicle involved in the crime.

The vehicle, a 2006 Ford cube van, was stolen earlier in the day from Middleton Flooring in Spruce Grove.

An employee of the flooring store told Global News she noticed the van was missing, even though the keys were safe, and called police. She said she was horrified to find out the vehicle was used in what she called a senseless and tragic event.

On Friday night, the RCMP released a photo of the suspect vehicle in a deadly hit-and-run in Thorsby, Alta. earlier in the day.

Supplied by RCMP

Jo’s son, Sung Hyun Jo, said his father, mother and sister immigrated to Canada 12 years ago. Sung Hyun arrived five years earlier, in 2000, for school.

“He was a really, really hardworking guy doing everything and sacrificing for our family just to have a good life,” Sung Hyun Jo said, his voice breaking.

Sung Hyun said there have been several gas-and-dash incidents at the gas station in the past, which frustrated his father. He said his family wanted to install a prepaid system, but it was too expensive.

READ MORE: Family pleads for suspect in Thorsby gas-and-dash to come forward

Alberta does not have laws related to prepaying or paying-before-you-pump. B.C. has had prepay laws since 2008.

The NDP pledged to move forward on legislation in 2015 after a Calgary woman died during a gas and dash. The NDP was also pressured by the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police in 2016 to devise a law requiring drivers to prepay before filling up. To date, no legislation has been introduced.

READ MORE: Alberta labour group pushes NDP for pay-before-you-pump gas law

Over the weekend, Labour Minister Christina Gray said she will bring forward measures “to better protect these workers as soon as possible this fall.”

On Tuesday, Gray reiterated her commitment to make changes. While she didn’t specify what the measures would include, she vowed to take strong and quick action.

“Measures doesn’t indicate what specific method will be used going forward,” Gray said Tuesday morning. “There are potential changes to the OH and S (Occupational Health and Safety) code. So there are different ways to approach what is happening and how we can prevent it. Those decisions have not been made.

“Ideas that we’ve heard is violence prevention programs being mandates through Alberta, mandatory prepay or pay-before-you-pump-type suggestions, as well as barriers. Lots of discussions have come forward.”

Gray said she has been working on changes since she became labour minister. She said consultations with retailers, workers, families of victims and labour organizations wrapped up in September. Those consultations included looking at what’s done in other provinces to prevent gas-and-dash incidents.

Watch below: Ongoing Global News coverage of the fatal gas-and-dash in Thorsby, Alta.

A funeral for Ki Yun Jo will be held on Friday and Saturday; Jo’s family started a GoFundMe page.

A prayer service will be held at the Thorsby Community Centre on Wednesday.

With files from Julia Wong, Global News.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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