'Unspeakable': family mourns Good Samaritan killed in highway crash

Jennifer Sullivan Snow was spontaneous and selfless — the sort of person who "didn't have it in her" to pass by someone needing help, according to her younger brother.

"She was unbelievably caring," said Chad Sullivan.

On Tuesday, Snow was travelling to a funeral home in Oromocto to pay her respects to her husband's grandfather.

Submitted

On her way there, the 33-year-old stopped to help at the scene of an accident on the Trans-Canada Highway.

That act of kindness was the last of her life. 

She was generous "not just with her friends and family, but random strangers," Sullivan said. "Anybody she met became an instant friend.

"She had just such a beautiful outlook on life."

Loved adventure

Born in Fredericton, and raised on the military base in Oromocto by parents Mary-Jane Sullivan and the late Michael Sullivan, Snow had "a larger-than-life personality."

"Every time you were around her was a good time," Sullivan said.

She and her husband, Robert, first met as students at Oromocto High School. After graduation, she developed a passion for travel that took her around the world.

"She spent time working in Australia, backpacking in Europe, she went to Hawaii more than once … You could call her up tomorrow and say, let's go to Thailand. And she would go," her brother said.

Submitted by Chad Sullivan

"She loved the adventure of it all and experiencing new places and cultures."

She and Robert got married in Las Vegas five years ago before a small group of family and friends.

"It was just one of those days you want to remember forever," said her father-in-law, Jim Snow.

Instead of a reception, the couple and their families rented a limousine party bus and "drove up and down the [Las Vegas] strip, laughing and joking and eating.

"I bet we were the only people in Las Vegas driving up and down the strip listening to the Rankin Family," said Snow.

Submitted by Jim Snow

Recently returned home

After earning a diploma in Human Resources Management and working in HR in Edmonton, Snow was thrilled to land a job back home at the New Brunswick Community College just this past September. 

True to her adventurous spirit, she packed up one of the couple's two vehicles and drove from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. to Burton— over 4,000 kilometres — with just her little dog Leroy Brown for company.

It was the worst feeling I've ever had. It was unspeakable, it was unbearable. - Jim Snow, father-in-law of Jennifer Sullivan Snow

She completed the drive in just four days.

She was excited about the new job and being close to family again, her brother said.

"She was really happy at that job, enjoying being home again and spending time with our mom," said Sullivan.

"Her and my mom were extremely close."

'Worst feeling'

On Tuesday night, a snow squall and high winds meant poor road conditions across much of New Brunswick.

Around 5 p.m., Sullivan left work in Moncton for the funeral home in Oromocto. The family was paying respects to Cecil Snow, her husband's grandfather, who had died a few days earlier.

She texted Robert from the road that  "there was a truck that just went off the road and she had stopped," Snow said.

Submitted by Rob Snow

"That was the last time he heard from her."

When she didn't arrive at her in-laws' home in Burton, her husband and mother exchanged increasingly worried text messages. They called the police station in Moncton and the local hospitals.

Finally, her father-in-law said, an RCMP car pulled into the driveway.

"It was the worst feeling I've ever had. It was unspeakable, it was unbearable," said Snow. "I spent the afternoon in the funeral parlour waking my father, and then to come home and have news like that dropped on your doorstep is just awful, awful.

"These are things you hear about, you read about, you watch movies about, and you just don't believe these things can happen. But it's reality. It does happen."

Died at the scene

Police later stated that  the Trans-Canada Highway was covered in slush Tuesday night as heavy snow changed to rain.

Near Havelock, about 50 kilometres west of Moncton, a truck had rolled into a ditch. The driver was injured and had climbed up on the shoulder of the highway.

According to RCMP, Sullivan and another driver stopped to help.

"Jenn didn't have it in her not to stop at the side of the road to help somebody," her brother said.

Submitted by Dave Ferdinand

"That's just who she was."

As Sullivan and two others stood on the westbound shoulder, a transport truck travelling west tried to move into the left-hand lane to avoid the vehicles.

The truck then "jack-knifed," police said. The trailer hit all three people standing on the highway. 

Sullivan died at the scene, according to RCMP.

"It's very unfortunate," said Patrick Tardif, commander for the Riverview Detachment of the RCMP. "People trying to help people and this type of thing happens."

The drivers of the two other vehicles were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

'Focused on what is important'

Snow's funeral is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. on Tues., Nov. 20 at St. Mary's Chapel on Tilley Ave. in Oromocto. A private family wake will be held in Oromocto on Friday.

She is survived by her husband, Robert Snow, mother Mary-Jane Sullivan and partner Michael Spears, in-laws Jim and Sheila Snow, and many more family members and friends.

Submitted

"A lot of us go through life focusing on things that don't matter," said her brother. 

"My sister … was constantly thinking about what thoughtful gift she could get somebody. She'd be thinking about what other people were going through, and she would always send an email or call you if she knew you were going through a tough time.

"She focused on what is important. That's how I want her to be remembered."