A man has been charged with second-degree murder seven months after a gas-station owner was killed in a gas and dash.
Ki Yun Jo, 54, was struck and killed on Oct. 6 outside his Fas Gas station in Thorsby, Alta., about 70 kilometres southwest of Edmonton.
Police have said he tried to stop a driver who sped off in a stolen white cube van without paying for fuel. A witness saw Jo hanging onto the van’s passenger side mirror when the vehicle swerved, tossing him to the ground, before he was run over.
Jo’s family has said the van made off with gas worth $196.
Mitchell Robert Sydlowski of Spruce Grove, Alta., further faces charges of theft, possession of property obtained by crime and failing to remain at the scene of an accident causing death.
The 27-year-old was arrested last week while already an inmate at the Edmonton Remand Centre, said RCMP. He is scheduled to appear in Wetaskiwin provincial court on Tuesday.
“We are relieved and we are also very sad,” Jo’s daughter, Ka Yung Jo, said Monday of the arrest.
“It doesn’t bring my father back.”
The 28-year-old said her family moved more than a decade ago to Canada from South Korea. Her father wanted more opportunities and education for his children.
He eventually bought the gas station and worked tirelessly, often alone, sleeping in the gas station’s tiny office in between shifts.
After she studied fashion and her brother took accounting, they both found jobs. After their father died, they quit so they could work at the gas station with their mother.
“He literally put his life into this,” said Jo’s daughter.
“We are trying to keep it going … It was everything for him.”
RCMP Sgt. Bryce Long said several people saw what happened and Jo’s death has had an impact on many in the town of roughly 1,000 people.
“Our team has worked hard on this investigation, and seeing these charges laid brings a great sense of closure not only to the major crimes unit, but to the community at large and particularly the family of Ki Yun Jo,” he said in a statement.
Shortly after Jo’s death, the Alberta government moved to bring in legislation requiring drivers to prepay before filling up at gas stations. There had been calls for the change since another high-profile gas-and-dash death in Calgary in 2015. Centex attendant Maryam Rashidi was run over by a driver who was fleeing with $113 of fuel.
The Act to Protect Gas and Convenience Store Workers comes into force on Friday.