UPDATE: Man killed during commute to work had vowed to retire this year, and shelve the drive

CORNWALL, Ontario – A Cornwall man killed in a tragic early-morning commute to work in Montreal had vowed to retire this year, because he had had enough of the long drive to work.

Police identified Robert Springer, 54, of Cornwall as the driver of a vehicle that was involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer on Highway 401 near Cornwall at around 6 a.m.

Springer worked in the IT department at Dawson College in Montreal, but had moved with his wife to Cornwall a few years ago because of the comparatively low cost of living.

He commuted to work daily, and his pal Stacey Katz, who worked alongside the barrel-chested Springer for more than 10 years, said retirement plans were in the works.

“He wanted to retire this year,” he said, adding Springer was an avid, and successful, golfer. “He and his wife were going to move to Florida, and he was going to become a golf pro.”

Springer and passenger Daniel Figura, 22, of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., were both killed in the wreck.

Springer’s colleagues at Dawson College were in shock.

“Sad day at Dawson today,” the school said in a social media post. “There wasn’t a student, teacher or employee Rob wouldn’t stop to help. You will be missed.”

In addition to his work on the HelpDesk in the IT department at the school, Springer helped with the women’s hockey team and the golf team.

Katz said his colleague was a jack-of-all trades, of sorts, who helped students with technical questions concerning the computer network at the school, while also aiding with simple things like feeding paper into a printer and even giving directions to the washroom.

“If you didn’t know him, he looked a little intimidating. But once you said hi, you knew he was very friendly,” said Katz.  “He kept the office running, but that wasn’t his job. It was just where his desk was.”

Emergency crews were at the scene of the fatal accident on Highway 401 near Cornwall for most of the morning.

The circumstances of the accident have not yet been released.

The male driver of the tractor trailer was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The eastbound lanes on the 401 were closed between McConnell Avenue and Boundary Road and traffic was detoured for a time Tuesday morning.

OPP said Tuesday there were other traffic collisions on the 401 and other highways thanks to adverse conditions.

Blowing, drifting snow wafted through the area Monday.

Share this article