Oak Bay embarks on public works week with a more sombre than celebratory mood this year.
Oak Bay resident and public works employee Steve Seekins, 52, was killed at a Monterey Avenue job site on May 17. Seekins, a husband and father of two, was working on a sidewalk shortly after 8 a.m. when he was struck by a black SUV moving at a high rate of speed, police said. The driver of the SUV, a 66-year-old Victoria woman, was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Oak Bay Police Chief Const. Mark Fisher said there has been an outpouring of community support for Seekins’ family and other municipal employees.
“It’s good to see they’re getting a lot of support locally from the community, municipality and of course family,” Fisher said. “I’m impressed but not surprised at the level of support the community is providing to our staff and the family … it’s much appreciated.”
An online fundraiser had reached almost $100,000 as of Tuesday. To donate visit gofundme.com/f/collection-for-oak-bay-public-works-employee. The district hosts a barbecue fundraiser May 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the front lawn of muncipal hall. Funds raised will support Seekins’ family.
Two other employees who were working with Seekins remain off work, said Steve Rennick, deputy director of engineering and public works for Oak Bay. All employees were offered counselling.
The crew was conducting maintenance on a storm drain – cutting roots and flushing the system – and Seekins was looking into a manhole to check the flow when he was hit.
Rennick urged motorists to slow down, be extra cautious and follow traffic control measures when cones and signs are present near worksites.
Public works crews started their shifts last Thursday at the memorial on Monterey Avenue. “We stood over the memorial and said some words … reminded everyone to check in on each other,” Rennick said.
The investigation into the crash is in its early stages and Fisher said there was a pattern of erratic driving prior to the crash. Police are seeking any witnesses or dash camera footage from anyone who has not already spoken with investigators.
Police, WorkSafe and the BC Coroners Service are all conducting concurrent investigations.