Former Midget AAA Moose Jaw Warrior and Humboldt Bronco, Troy Gasper, along with his wife and three kids, perished in a tragic accident Friday evening.
Carissa and Troy Gasper, young parents aged 28 and 26 respectively, had been on the road for about 25 minutes with their children when their Ford Explorer collided with a northbound SUV driven by a lone 71-year-old woman from the Swift Current area.
No-one survived the crash, which occurred about seven kilometers north of Elrose on a curved part of Highway 4.
Troy began his AAA career in Moose Jaw in 2007, before heading to Saskatoon, then having a two-year stint with the Humboldt Broncos, and has played with the SVHL Rosetown Redwings since.
The small community of Rosetown is wracked with grief after the local family of five was killed in the head-on collision south of the town.
“A young couple that had a nice little family. They were staples in the community,” local store owner Kathy Sigstad said of the Gaspers.
“A terrible, terrible tragedy.”
Sigstad operates Prairie Girl Fashions and often saw the family. Carissa worked at her father’s accounting firm down the street, while her mother is part-owner of the store next door.
She said she was close with Carissa’s mother, who would often brag about the Gasper grandchildren — six-year-old Kael, four-year-old Shea and two-year-old Maks.
“Their grandmas were very proud of them, whatever they were doing,” Sigstad said.
“Whether it was the baseball diamond or wherever, their little pictures were always on Facebook. It’s just so sad.”
The store owner added she saw the family making their way out of town for the long weekend.
“I waved to them, and she seemed so excited,” Sigstad said through tears.
Several people in the town on Saturday said the family was well-known, with Troy working as a salesperson at the local John Deere dealership and playing hockey in the community.
Will Nickel, a former employee of the AGT Foods Centre arena, said he watched Troy play for the Rosetown Red Wings and later saw the children attend pre-initiation hockey camps.
“Cute kids. Terrible tragedy,” he said.
Troy is also a former Humboldt Bronco, after playing for the team for two seasons between 2009 and 2011. His family’s social media pages featured several Broncos tributes after the April 6 crash involving the team bus that claimed 16 lives and injured 13 others.
Saskatchewan RCMP held a news conference Saturday afternoon to provide an update on the collision. They said two traffic reconstructionists who responded to the scene are still completing their reports regarding what caused the collision.
“It does take time for them to figure out exactly what happened,” Cpl. Rob King said.
“Right now, they’re in the evidence gathering (stage) and it’s going to take time for them to determine what exactly happened to the best of their abilities.”
He added both vehicles were engulfed by flames after the collision.
Highway 4 in both directions was blocked for several hours Friday night. It was reopened to traffic around 1 a.m. Saturday.
–With files from 980 CJME’s Jayda Noyes.