RITALKA-SpecSys in Prentice today released information on a fatal accident that occurred just after 5 a.m. on Tuesday, resulting in the death of an employee.

Jason Craig, a fulltime employee, was struck by a snowplow vehicle, operated by another employee. According to the statement, immediate aid was provided by an internal emergency team, of which some members are active on local emergency, fire, and rescue squads.

Within minutes an ambulance arrived to transport Craig to the Tomahawk hospital. An AED, heart machine on site was readied but not used, and according to the statement, a medivac helicopter was unable to be dispatched to Prentice due to low cloud cover Tuesday morning.

While en-route to Tomahawk, an ambulance with more advanced medical staff was dispatched from the Tomahawk hospital to intercept the patient. Shortly upon arrival at the hospital, Craig was pronounced dead by the physician, according to the statement.

“We understand that Mr. Craig has a wife of many years and adult children. Mr. Craig was born in 1974 and 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 statement reads.

The company has contacted the Price County Sheriff’s Office to open an industrial accident investigation Tuesday morning, and since that time OSHA has taken over the investigation, according to the company.

“Senior management of the company from two different Minnesota locations joined local managment just after lunch to initially meet the OSHA team dispatched from Eau Claire. This gorup was together until late into the evening, which included a review of the accident area, in-person meetings with key employees involved, as well as phone calls to others. We can report that the tests performed on the snowplow operator have come back 100% clean for drugs and alcohol. As with all industrial accidents, OSHA will be working this for the weeks to come,” the statement reads.

The company said it has closed the Prentice facility for two days and will reopen Thursday morning with grief optional counseling provided.

“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. 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.”

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