Employee dies after being struck by snow plow vehicle at RITALKA-SpecSys facility in Prentice
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor
PRENTICE – A RITALKA-SpecSys employee was struck by a snow plow vehicle at the facility in Prentice on Tuesday, Feb. 18, and was later pronounced dead at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Tomahawk.
According to a release from RITALKA, Inc., full-time employee Jason Craig was struck by the vehicle being driven by another employee just after 5 a.m. The company’s internal emergency team, some of whom are active on local township emergency, fire and ambulance squads, provided immediate aid to Craig.
An ambulance arrived within minutes to transport Craig to Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Tomahawk, the release states. The company was told that the MedEvac helicopter was unable to be dispatched to Prentice due to low cloud cover.
The release states an ambulance from Tomahawk “with more advanced trained medical staff” was dispatched to meet the ambulance from Prentice while it was en route to Tomahawk. The staff from the Tomahawk ambulance joined the ambulance carrying Craig to Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital, where Craig was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is handling the investigation, the company said.
The company stated the driver of the snow plow vehicle was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The release states Craig was born in 1974 and has a wife of many years and adult children. Craig “had worked at this Prentice facility for some time, with a recent short leave for another Job, before rejoining our team three weeks ago as a Paint Lead Person,” the release continues.
“It is our view that this is very obviously a tragic accident in which several family lives changed in the duration of seconds Tuesday morning,” the company stated. “RITALKA-SpecSys is a family owned business and our heart aches for the Craig family, as well as the employees that worked every day with Jason.”
The facility was closed on Tuesday, Feb. 18 and Wednesday, Feb. 19, and reopened Thursday, Feb. 20 with grief counselors on-site.
RITALKA, Inc. is a “privately held small business holding company based in Montevideo, Minn., 100% owned by Kevin R. Wald,” according to the company’s website, ritalka.com. “The company owns two service providing companies dedicated to supporting other companies and government agencies.”
Specialty Systems (SpecSys) was founded in 1997 and “offers a full range of engineering and manufacturing services throughout multiple locations to meet each client’s specific needs over a wide range of industries and specialties,” the website states. Along with its Prentice facility, SpecSys has locations and offices in Minnesota and South Dakota.
RITALKA, Inc. also owns RVI, Inc., a “comprehensive electronics service provider.”