The family of a Nanaimo truck driver who was killed in a crash on the Malahat this week is heart-broken, but also “so appreciative” of those who have offered support.
Jonathan Seidel, who was 36, died Wednesday in a two-vehicle collision involving the sewage truck he was driving and an SUV.
His sister Jennifer Kurucz set up a GoFundMe that day which surpassed its initial goal of $25,000 and will be capped at $40,000.
“It’s just so overwhelming. We’re so appreciative,” Kurucz said.
Seidel had been working for DBL Disposal for about three months and serviced port-a-potties up and down the Island. He was an experienced truck driver.
“Not a new gig to him, but a new rig, I guess,” Kurucz said. “And something that was local and allowed him to do what he loved and still be with his family.”
She said her brother was a safe and cautious driver who would often criticize, with trucking in mind, people driving too aggressively or too fast. Kurucz has been asked a few times this week about the safety of the Malahat route.
“It’s definitely not the most comfortable and people do kind of feel the need to speed through it,” she said.
Kurucz said the family hadn’t yet been able to reach out to the other driver involved in Wednesday’s crash.
“We just want to say that we’re so thankful that no other life was lost and we’re so glad that the other driver’s going to be OK,” she said.
Kurucz said the fundraiser was set up not only to cover funeral costs, but also allow Jonathan’s widow Randa and two-month-old daughter Hazel “time to heal and grieve and allow them to have a proper maternity leave.”
She said donations have come from as far away as Australia, people in the trucking industry has been especially generous, and there have been offers to organize or help with future fundraisers. Kurucz said DBL has been supportive, too, as the company was first to notify the family about the accident.
“It was horrible to know that one of the things that my sister-in-law had to worry about was if rent was going to be OK, and DBL stepped right in and said, ‘What bills are coming up? What do you need from us? Let’s just get through this together as a family,’” Kurucz said.
Jonathan “loved Vancouver Island” and exploring it with Randa, particularly in search of waterfalls. His sister said he was a friendly, generous person, but with a rough exterior, so people wouldn’t necessarily think to ask him for help.
“If you did, you would be surprised and delighted by the response,” she said. “I think people will remember that and people who are close to him will remember how fun and full of life he was.”