Outpouring of support for new father killed in Malahat sewage truck crash

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Friends and family of a young Nanaimo father killed in a crash on the Malahat highway are coming together to support his widow and two month old baby daughter. Kylie Stanton reports – Aug 25, 2018

A Vancouver Island father who was killed in a crash on the Malahat Highway this week is being remembered for his kind heart and love of life.

Jonathan Seidel, 36, had recently married his long-time love, Randa. The couple had their first child, Hazel, just two months ago.

Now, Randa is facing motherhood alone, and Hazel a life never knowing her father.

READ MORE: Malahat Highway closed after fatal collision involving SUV, sewage truck

“He was fun, outgoing, adventurous,” said Seidel’s sister, Jennifer Kurucz.

“It’s never easy to lose somebody suddenly,” Kurucz said. “We’re just taking it day by day.”

Jonathan Seidel with his newborn daughter. GoFundMe

Seidel was driving a sewage truck on the highway when he collided with an SUV near Goldstream Park around 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

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The truck flipped over, killing him instantly.

The crash left the highway closed for seven hours.

“We were told that the truck collided with the rock face, went into the ditch and rolled,” said Kurucz.

READ MORE: Fatal Malahat crash renews calls for barriers on notorious highway

The Malahat forms a vital link between the Victoria region and the rest of Vancouver Island. However, the route has become infamous for collisions, with Siedel’s death just the latest in a string of deadly crashes.

Some frustrated residents say they’ve had enough.

WATCH: Fatal Malahat crash claims one life

Click to play video: 'Fatal Malahat crash claims one life' Fatal Malahat crash claims one life
Fatal Malahat crash claims one life – Jun 10, 2018

A petition calling for an upgrade has gathered momentum in the wake of the crash, closing in on 4,000 signatures.

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“I think there’s a lot of people on the Island who have had a lot of experiences with being delayed on the Malahat, with having accidents on the Malahat,” said petition author Paul Russel.

“I think there have been too many people have been killed on the Malahat recently.”

READ MORE: Cameras proposed to catch speeders on Vancouver Island’s Malahat Highway

Some members of the Capital Regional District have proposed another solution: photo radar on the twisting mountain highway.

The proposal would see cameras installed at the beginning and end of specific stretches, which would calculate a driver’s average speed through the area.

The Ministry of Transportation says it is conducting a review of the highway and is looking at potential alternatives.

“Ministry staff are currently determining the detailed scope and schedule of that review and will have more information in the fall,” it said in an emailed statement.

“The ministry intends to continue to work toward safety improvements for the corridor, including more four-laning, improved lighting, and adding median barriers to the route.”

WATCH: Fatal crash on Malahat

That’s cold comfort for Seidel’s family.

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“This is not the first or last tragic accident on this stretch of highway, that’s for sure,” said Kurucz.  “It’s a big incline at fairly high speeds, and very windy. And I don’t know the answer.”

Since the tragedy, Kurucz said the family has seen an outpouring of support, with condolences and even food pouring in.

A crowdfunding campaign to support the young family has also taken off, raising more than $40,000 in just a few days.

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