Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/2/2009 (4489 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The mother of a teen killed after he was covered in burning asphalt on a job site says she'll personally help pay the fines if the boy's employer is convicted under provincial labour laws.
Seven months after 15-year-old Andrew James died at a Stony Mountain job site, the 47-year-old man who ran the company where the high school student worked is facing six charges under the province's Employment Standards Code.
But the boy's mother, Roberta James, said late Thursday she'll fight tooth and nail to support her family friend Gerald Shepell, owner of Interlake Paving.
Shepell could pay up to $30,000 in fines if he's convicted of all six charges.
James said she fears criminal charges could also be pending against Shepell, after communication she received from Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health indicates a criminal case is being considered.
"He was like a father figure to these boys... If I have to, on my days off when I'm not working, I'll go and help him out to raise the money to pay for these charges," said James, a 40-year-old mom with three other children.
The family remains in close-knit Stony Mountain and keeps in contact with Shepell.
Andrew James died July 25, 2008 after eyewitnesses said the underage worker was buried in asphalt from a nearby truck while working at a former Manitoba Hydro substation at 66 Vincent Rd. in Stony Mountain.
A fire official said the company was dumping asphalt into a massive pile there to use for various projects around town when the death occurred.
Provincial court documents showed Gerald Shepell faces two charges for allegedly employing James and another Stony Mountain youth from June 1 to July 25 last year.
Provincial laws prohibit those under the age of 16 from working on construction sites.
Shepell also faces two charges for allegedly failing to keep employment records on the two teens last summer, and another two charges for allegedly not providing an investigator with copies of those records when asked for them last September.
James's parents previously confirmed to the Free Press that James was working for Interlake as a paver with their permission, and they said the young man used to circle the job site with his bike begging to be included.
Roberta James maintained Thursday Shepell offered her hyperactive son an opportunity.
Her family previously told the Free Press the man was burned himself after trying to dig her son out of the mess.
She said her family will lobby against possible criminal charges.
"It's not as if he did this on purpose. It's not as if he was doing anything bad," she said.
"In fact, he was doing good... We're from a small town, there's not a lot for them to do, he took them under his wing.
"He taught them things they normally would not have learned."
On Thursday, the father of the second young worker named in the court documents said he was unaware of the charges against Shepell.
"(My son) is fine," said the man. "We didn't know what charges would come up against (Shepell)."
The death left the close-knit community of Stony Mountain reeling.
"It's hard. We were all attached to the boy. We sorta took the boy under our wing," said a relative of Shepell, who said the man is not currently working.
Interlake Paving still reportedly exists, but suspends operation during winter months.
A call to Shepell was not returned Thursday. A lawyer for the man said he could not comment on the case.
He will appear in court again March 26.