Partner in award-winning business dies in collision

A founding partner of Red Deer-based Rocky Mountain Phoenix died on Tuesday after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a car on Hwy 11, south of Sylvan Lake.

Harvey Dussault

Harvey Dussault

A founding partner of Red Deer-based Rocky Mountain Phoenix died on Tuesday after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a car on Hwy 11, south of Sylvan Lake.

Harvey Dussault, 55, was travelling west at about 5:45 p.m. when he struck an eastbound car that was turning north on Secondary Hwy 781.

Sylvan Lake RCMP Sgt. Duncan Babchuk said a westbound truck with a trailer on Hwy 11 was waiting to turn south on Hwy 781 and restricted the driver’s vision.

Howard Bradley, one of Dussault’s partners at Rocky Mountain Phoenix, said Dussault was travelling from Red Deer to his farm near Benalto.

“He enjoyed life immensely,” said Bradley. “Unfortunately, one of his passions was riding a motorcycle.”

Dussault and his wife, Julie, had two adult children and a young grandson.

Bradley said his partner was well known in the firefighting community. In addition to his involvement in Rocky Mountain Phoenix — which manufactures, sells and repairs emergency vehicles, including fire trucks — Dussault previously served as assistant deputy fire chief in Spruce Grove, fire chief at the County of Leduc, fire chief and emergency co-ordinator at Kananaskis Country, and with the Leslieville and Eckville fire departments. He also taught at the Alberta Fire Training School at Vermilion.

News of his death prompted a flood of calls and emails, said Bradley.

“The emails, I’ve got pages of them here from all over North America.”

Rocky Mountain Phoenix was started by Dussault and Bradley in 1995 after Superior Emergency Equipment — where Dussault worked — was purchased by Federal Signal Corp., the U.S. parent company of E-One Canada.

“I was his dealer for Superior in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and he was the general manager before E-One bought it,” said Bradley.

Rocky Mountain Phoenix, which was then called Phoenix Emergency Vehicles, initially operated as a dealer for E-One. In 2009, it received the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce’s Medium Business of the Year Award.

Gale Myers is also a partner.

Bradley said management broke the news of Dussault’s death to staff on Wednesday morning. The business has a “family” feel to it, he added, due in large part to his partner’s personality.

“He was a real practical joker — and delighted in antagonizing me.”

In addition to his staff and members of the industry, Dussault had close ties to his rural community at Benalto, said Bradley. He expects that neighbours there will rally to help with the farm.

“The hay will get off, I can say that without worry.”

Bradley expressed frustration Dussault died at a very busy intersection where no traffic controls exist.

“One life is worth what the lights are.”

Babchuk agreed that the intersection is a dangerous one.

“I’ve been to multiple collisions at that intersection,” he said.

The speed limit in the area is 80 km/h, which Babchuk said is high considering the volume of traffic there.

Police have determined that weather and alcohol were not factors.

The 52-year-old female driver of the car has been charged with turning left unsafely and is scheduled to appear in Red Deer provincial court on Sept. 26.

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