Moab resident Jay L. Stephens, 51, was killed in a work accident on Monday morning, June 9 at the Bob's Sanitation transfer station.
According to a press release from the Grand County Sheriff's Office, he was crushed by the lift gate of a garbage truck after he and the driver of the truck had just finished unloading it in one of the bays at the transfer station. The lift gate had been raised and the truck's load had been pushed out of the truck's cargo area. Stephens was between the lift gate and the rear of the truck, when it pulled forward, stopped, and the gate lowered.
Those who knew Stephens said he always had a smile on his face and had a good sense of humor.
“I enjoyed very much seeing Jay smiling every Thursday that I bowled on leagues at Gravel Pit Lanes. He would stand behind the counter and smile at everyone,” Tara Wilder said. “He regularly called in and won our giveaways at KCYN-FM 97.1, where I work, and always listened to the TnT show, Canyon Country Adventure Sports Update Show, and Moab's Restaurant Hour. His answers would be quick-witted and he would always bring a smile to both mine and Teresa Wyatt-Hine's face when he would call....we would say live on the air 'Jay is that YOU?' and he would laugh and say 'Yeah...it's me!' We enjoyed his call-ins. My son A.J. Davis worked with him briefly at Gravel Pit Lanes and everybody that knew him liked him. It was very apparent how much he loved his family.”
Robert Hawks, the owner of Bob's Sanitation, said Stephens was “just like one of my kids.”
“Jay was a very loyal, good guy – an excellent employee,” Hawks said. “He was dependable and honest – no drugs, no bullcrap.”
Hawks said that this accident was the first deadly accident in Bob's Sanitation's 44-year history.
“It's hard to cope with,” he said.
He also worked at Gravel Pit Lanes and volunteered as a firefighter from 1996 to 1999 and again from 2008 to the time of his death. He was remembered by all who knew him as a loyal and loving husband, father, grandfather and friend.
Sheriff Steven White said that fatal workplace accidents are extremely rare in Grand County. He said he couldn't recall when the last one took place.
The Moab Valley Fire Department planned to release a statement on Tuesday afternoon, June 10 regarding Stephens' death, but the statement was unavailable as of press time.
A memorial fund for Stephens has been set up the Grand County Credit Union, account No. 6868.
According to the Sheriff's Office press release, the accident is currently under investigation. White said the full investigation could take several weeks to complete.
Editors note: Updates to this story will be made at moabsunnews.com as information becomes available.