Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 49-year-old Paul Rocheleau who died Tuesday, 1/17/12, after being struck on the side of the highway. Rocheleau worked for Sandwich West Towing.
Here’s the story from The Montreal Gazette:
WINDSOR, Ont. — A 49-year-old Windsor Ont., tow-truck driver, whose last words warned a stranded motorist about speeding traffic on Highway 3, was struck and killed Tuesday by a passing car.
Paul Rocheleau, who was changing a tire in the median of the highway at approximately 11 a.m., when he was struck by a westbound Mercedes-Benz, will be remembered as a fun-loving father and grandfather.
“He was a very outgoing cheerful guy, no matter what,” said Ken LaButte, Rocheleau’s best friend of 30 years. “He didn’t drink. He didn’t smoke. He was very health-conscious. He was just an all-around nice guy. If you needed him, he was there for you.”
OPP Sgt. Rick Tonial said the tow truck and car were in the median of a westbound lane and appeared to be in a legal spot to change a tire.
“I would say they were well off the roadway, about two feet off the roadway,” Tonial said, though investigators had yet to confirm anything. “I believe it would be OK to do that there.”
A black Lexus with a flat front passenger tire and a red jack sitting under the vehicle, sat in the median as OPP officers investigated the scene.
Three people were injured. Rocheleau and the driver of the car that hit him were rushed to hospital and Rocheleau later died of massive head and other injuries.
LaButte said Rocheleau remained positive despite tragedy in his life: losing a son and daughter in a fire years ago and the sudden death of a girlfriend.
“Above all that, he kept his chin up,” LaButte said. “He had two daughters who he loved very much. And a (two-month-old) grandson. They meant everything to him.”
Rocheleau, born and raised in River Canard, a hamlet approximately 10 kilometres south of Windsor, was a longtime motorcycle enthusiast who enjoyed playing pool and was safety conscious with everything he did.
He worked for many years at Maple Leaf Stamping and had spent the last three months as a tow-truck driver.
OPP temporarily closed both lanes of Highway 3, after the fatal accident.
Murray Bryant, 63, of London, was charged with careless driving.
Tuesday afternoon, the Sandwich West Towing truck sat several feet ahead over a toppled median sign, with a damaged front passenger side. About 70 metres ahead on the right side of the road was a Mercedes-Benz with damage to its front driver side.
“He (Rocheleau) had just told me to stand back because people are crazy on this road,” said Paul Matteis, of Chatham, Ont., who was a passenger in the car with the flat tire. “The momentum took him and he landed right between the tow truck and the front of the car.”
Matteis, who was clutching a rosary and who could not put pressure on his right leg, said the car brushed him as well.
“I was standing by the door handle,” he said. “It grazed me and I went toward the car.”
His brother David, who had called 911, was on the phone receiving instructions on how to perform CPR when police showed up and tried to revive Rocheleau.
“I could see he wasn’t breathing,” David said. “I knew he was gone.”
From Footnotes TowBlog: Towing News Around The Web (www.thetowblog.com)
Posted by Cyndi Kight, Associate Editor of Towing and Recovery Footnotes