Windsor Trucker Hailed as Hero

by Ron Stang

WINDSOR, Ont. – A Windsor area trucker, who died in a fiery crash in mid-September on Highway 401, is being hailed as a tremendous worker and role model.

John Michael Fostey, 45, died early the morning of Sept. 13 when his truck, hauling rolled steel for Windsor-based Riverview Steel Co. Ltd., was hit by a westbound tractor-trailer that had unexplicably crossed the median in the accident outside Windsor. Fostey was en route to Toronto.

Also dead was the driver of the Mississauga-based truck, Nautej Singh Pandher, 24, driving for City South Logistics, and his passenger, 32-year-old Hardip Singh Brar, also of Mississauga.

Fostey drove for Riverview’s in-house carrier, TMT Services Inc. The two Mississauga men died at the scene – Pandher reportedly after collapsing after getting out of his truck, his passenger having to be extricated.

Fostey, of Belle River, outside Windsor, died later in hospital in Chatham.

Police blamed the accident on “driver error” and Constable Deb Mineau of Essex OPP described the scene as one of the worst she had seen – the vehicles destroyed by the crash and subsequent fire.

She called it “horrific…there was a huge impact, both vehicles were totally destroyed.” Investigators found no evidence of braking by the City South truck.

Representatives for the Mississauga driver did not return phone calls from Truck News.

But Dave Perry, TMT’s operations manager, hailed Fostey as a standout driver and a close personal friend.

MTM has eight vehicles and 10 drivers in the fleet with the Riverview Steel logo. Perry was on his daily run to Toronto. The City South Logistics truck carried rolls of paper.

With 25 years experience at this and other companies Fostey “was the original driver hired” when TMT was formed six years ago, Perry said. Just this summer Fostey was promoted to transportation supervisor in charge of maintenance and drivers as well as testing.

Perry described him as “one of the most reliable drivers, and I knew that if I ever needed anything hot – we run just in time in this business – John was the guy to go to.”

When Perry joined the company three years ago after Riverview underwent expansion, he and Fostey “became friends right away.” They began golfing every Sunday together. “He taught me how to play golf.”

An eyewitness motorist described Fostey as deliberately accelerating ahead in the left lane as if to protect her from the oncoming City South vehicle.

“In a way he was our angel and I’m very sorry for the family,” Leamington resident Christina Kopa told The Windsor Star.

Kopa was driving with two passengers.

Perry said it didn’t surprise him that Fostey may have deliberately saved lives while putting his own in jeopardy.

“Obviously I can’t say for sure but John was the type of man that…as a person, yeah, I can see him putting himself out.”

Fostey, married with two daughters, “is one of the best drivers that has ever worked with me, and I’m proud to say that,” Perry added. The company golf tournament has been named for him.

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