I do not normally share stories like this in my blog, as much as possible, I do away from sad stories like this, but I can’t help but feel affected about this heart-wrenching story that happened on the exact day of heart’s day. On the day of love, someone brutally lost his life while doing his job.
On the morning of February 14th, Winnipeggers were shocked with the news about Irvine “Jubal” Fraser, a civil servant working as a transit operator who was slain.
Maybe because I get to see transit operators each day in going to and from work, I felt really sad upon hearing the news. I am one of the members of the public who greatly benefit from the services of these drivers and personally speaking, I really have high regards and respect to people like Jubal (Irvine went by his middle name) because I could see that their job is not easy, these drivers are trying their best to bring their passengers to their destinations as safely as they can. Though, this is the only news that I heard about a Winnipeg bus driver has been killed because of a violent altercation while doing his job, this is not the first time that I heard stories that a bus driver was assaulted.
By following all news and stories about Jubal’s death, I learned that at age 58, he worked the evening shift as a Winnipeg bus driver, so he could help look after his granddaughter during the daytime. He and his wife are looking after their young granddaughter after their daughter passed away a few years ago. According to his colleagues, Jubal was even looking forward to retirement as early as next year.
February 14 news indicated that Jubal pulled up to the last stop of his shift at the University of Manitoba in the early hours of Tuesday. He apparently had to ask his last passenger who allegedly fell asleep on the bus to leave as it was the end of the route and it was time to exit but the man refused.
This morning news update revealed that the said passenger was with a group who were believed to be intoxicated, either from alcohol, drugs or both. The others got off at a different stop, but for unknown reason he was left sleeping. Reports added that when the bus route came to an end, the operator noticed a man still seated and he attempted to wake him up, when he woke up, he didn’t know where he was, where his buddies were, and became agitated. The review of the video from security cameras of the bus revealed that Jubal asked the passenger to exit the bus a number of times. Jubal returned to the front of the bus and the passenger followed him and still refused to leave. At some point he apparently put his hands on the man in an attempt to escort him off, which prompted the suspect to lash out. A scuffle continued and in the process of pulling the passenger off the bus, he pulled out a large knife and began slashing and stabbing away. Hence, Jubal was stabbed multiple times in the upper body. Though buses are already equipped with surveillance cameras, GPS systems and emergency buttons, Jubal didn’t have the chance to push his emergency button. Jubal was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition but doctors failed to save his life.
As of this time, a 22-year-old man with court records shows convictions dating back to 2012 for crimes that include weapons offences, assault and robbery is facing charges including second-degree murder, possession of a weapon and failing to comply with a probation order.
After the news about Jubal’s death broke, Winnipeggers showed an outpouring support to his family. There were two separate GoFundMe fundraising pages that were set up for Jubal.
One of which was created by his colleague (Help for Irvine “JUBAL” family) and set a goal of $10,000 to be raised to assist the family Fraser left behind and in less than 24 hours the page had already garnered more than $20,000.00 in donations. Another GoFundMe page (Irvine Fraser Memorial Fund) was set up by Taylor Nimchonok, a former University of Manitoba student as a way for students and faculty of the university to reach out and assist financially, page had raised more than $4,900 for its $5,000 goal in less than 24 hours. These GoFundMe pages are still accepting donations.
A rally organized by Transit workers titled ONE LIFE IS TOO MANY TO LOSE AT WORK is happening at the Winnipeg City Hall on Friday (February 17th) at 10 a.m. in honor of Jubal. John Callahan, President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 encourage Winnipeggers to come to show support for Irvine Fraser.
Rest in peace, Jubal and thank you for your service, Sir!
CBC News: Bus driver dies after stabbing at University of Manitoba, retrieved February 14, 2017
CBC News: Man charged with murder in fatal attack on Winnipeg Transit driver, retrieved February 15, 2017
Winnipeg Sun: Refusal to leave bus led to driver’s death: police, retrieved February 15, 2017
National Post: Slain Winnipeg bus driver worked nights so he could help look after granddaughter, retrieved February 15, 2017
CBC NEWS: Winnipeg Transit drivers raising funds after colleague killed in on-the-job attack, retrieved February 15, 2017