Jail guard, father of 2 has died from injuries suffered in a crash early this month in Hopewell
On a day devoted to remembering the service and sacrifice of U.S. service men and women, the area law enforcement community observed a loss of its own.
On Monday morning, a procession of police from multiple law enforcement agencies from two counties served as an escort as Deputy Josh Shaver was brought home to Ontario County. The 35-year-old Ontario County sheriff's deputy died Sunday as the result of injuries he suffered in a crash earlier this month in Hopewell, as he was driving home from his shift at the county jail.
More than 30 sheriff's deputies, corrections officers and the undersheriff escorted his wife Mary Shaver from Strong Memorial Hospital, where the father of two died Sunday night after 16 days in the hospital.
A post Sunday on the Ontario County Sheriff's Office's Facebook page read: "The dedicated women and men of the Ontario County Office of Sheriff mourn the loss of a brother Officer. A personal and professional void exists in our law enforcement family. Our prayers continue for Officer Shaver and his family."
A later post thanked the New York State Police, Canandaigua and Brighton police departments, Monroe County Sheriff's Office and University of Rochester Department of Public Safety, along with several fire and EMS agencies, "for the assistance they provided today as we brought Josh home."
Deputy Shaver, a Canandaigua resident who had worked for the sheriff's office for seven years, had been at Strong since the May 12 crash at the intersection of County Road 46 and Smith Road. He had been driving west on County Road 46, heading home after work, when a motorist on Smith Road ran a stop sign and struck his vehicle, according to the sheriff's office. The deputy was taken by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital, where he had been since.
The driver of the other vehicle, Rebecca A. Laursen-Castner, 41, of Penn Yan, has been cited with failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to yield the right of way and reckless driving. The Ontario County undersheriff said she was going to a lacrosse game at the time and is remorseful.
"Unfortunately, on the 12th, Josh came and worked as he always does in a professional manner," said Undersheriff David Tillman. "Left here on his way home and he didn't make it. We're feeling that — it's very, very sad for us and for his family."
For former Ontario County corrections officer Jericho Smith, Deputy Shaver's death is the loss not only of a treasured colleague, but a longtime family friend.
"I had known Josh since he was a little kid," Smith recalled. "He worked for me at Honeoye Auto Parts, and he worked for my parents at Aces." Smith's parents had so much regard for Shaver as a teenager that they left him in charge of their Honeoye restaurant at age 18 when they went out of town.
The Honeoye Central School graduate had a serious work ethic, Smith noted, and would do any kind of work — but a career in law enforcement was his dream.
"He lived and breathed law enforcement," Smith said. "That was his ultimate goal." Smith said Shaver worked for a security company for a while and even moved to Maryland for a time in an attempt to become a Maryland state trooper, but his first law enforcement job ended up being for Ontario County.
"He was just a great, great person, and it was so sad to see this happen to him," Smith said. "Everyone at the jail respected him — the inmates, clerks — everybody. Everybody knew Josh."
And on a personal level, he said, "If you ever had a chance to meet him, he would have left a mark on your soul. If you ever needed anything, Josh was there. If you needed a shoulder to lean on, Josh was there. He even babysat my kids when he was still in high school. No job was ever too big for him to take on."
Tillman echoed those sentiments: "He's just been a great role model and great father, great husband, from all accounts … just a super individual."
Friends set up a GoFundMe account to help the Shaver family — including wife shortly after the crash. As of Monday, more than $32,000 had been raised, surpassing the initial $30,000 goal.
Fuller Funeral Home in Canandaigua is in charge of arrangements.
A GoFundMe account set up to help the Shaver family can be found at http://bit.ly/2sfPGGR