Mar 14, 2017 - one year ago
By Supply Post
Pat Gaudet, a driver for BCTA member Sutco Transportation Specialists, died tragically this past weekend after his truck went off the road on Highway 3 near Manning Park. Although Pat was rescued from the crash site on March 2, 2017, he succumbed to his injuries in hospital on Saturday morning, March 4.
BCTA was unable to provide notice to members in the March 6 Bulletin that Sutco has started a GoFundMe campaign for Pat Gaudet’s family in Oliver, hence this e-mail. Donations can be made at this site:
BCTA extends its deepest condolences to the Gaudet family and everyone at Sutco.
Some background on Pat’s story
Media reports on the tragedy have been brief and initially focused on the heroic, 10-hour rescue effort of the team that got Pat out of his overturned truck. Fellow members will understand the level of concern at Sutco Pat’s disappearance generated, so we wanted to share more details with you.
In addition to equipping its trucks with satellite communications, Sutco has protocols requiring dispatchers to check in with drivers and vice versa. However, as those in the industry know, satellite equipment is not foolproof and cell phone coverage is not universal across BC. In this situation, both Sutco dispatch and Pat followed protocol and procedures from the start of Pat’s shift at 6:25 pm on February 28. Following a series of regular communications through to about 11:30 pm, direct communications ended. Everything appeared to be business as usual for Pat, a veteran driver travelling a route he knew well, and Pat’s satellite unit showed no critical flags or alerts.
At about 7 am on March 1, a Sutco team member noticed during a regular check that Pat’s electronic log was giving false readings – a common-enough occurrence with an easy fix by re-starting the unit -- and immediately began trying to determine Pat’s whereabouts. Even though there is no cellular service along much of Highway 3, Sutco dispatch made immediate calls to Pat’s cell, which went straight to voicemail. Satellite messages were sent, but Pat did not respond. Sutco quickly contacted two other Sutco drivers in the same area, but neither had seen Pat’s truck. At 8:45 am, Sutco notified the RCMP that Pat was missing, but the search didn’t begin for another 3 hours because of misinformation about Pat’s last known whereabouts.
Even with the RCMP involved, Sutco staff called local commercial repair shops, the weigh scale, and other places along the route for any detail that might point to his whereabouts. By noon on March 1, two Sutco managers drove Pat’s route until darkness fell to try to locate him. Even with their efforts, those of the RCMP, local search and rescue and others, Pat wasn’t found until just before noon on March 2, 2017.
President & CEO| British Columbia Trucking Association