A Calgary truck driver has been charged in connection to a bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey club that killed 16 people and injured 13 others.
RCMP say Jaskirat Sidhu, 29, was arrested at about 10:00 a.m. Friday at his Calgary home. He is charged with 16 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and 13 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily injury in connection to the crash.
“Mr. Sidhu has been remanded into RCMP custody,” said Saskatchewan RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki.
“In order to lay these charges, we required evidence a motor vehicle was being operated in a manner that was dangerous to the public. Now that the charges have been laid we move to the next step in the process. Our investigators will continue to liaise with the Crown prosecutor’s office as we have done so over the past three months,” said RCMP Superintendent Derek Williams.
The crash between the team’s bus and a transport truck happened at the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 335, about 30 kilometres north of Tisdale, on April 6th.
“We know that the bus was driving northbound on the highway and the semi-truck was westbound. They did meet in the intersection and a collision occurred,” said Williams. “Our investigation was focused on the driver in this case and that is who we’ve charged.”
Superintendent Williams says the core group of 20 investigators was supported by an additional 100 investigators to analyze and collect evidence from the scene.
“In addition to the collision reenactment we did in April, we’ve conducted over 60 interviews, taken over 6000 photographs, analyzed all of the documentation available to us, including the driver log book. We’ve also used 3D technology to capture evidence through unmanned, aerial vehicles,” said Williams.
The truck that was involved belongs to Calgary-based Adesh Deol Trucking Limited.
The company’s owner says the driver had been working there for a month and had just 15 days of training with the owner but it’s not clear how much prior experience he had.
RCMP officials say they are limited in what they can say about the crash as the case is now before the courts.
“We’ve looked at every aspect of the collision including the speed of the vehicles, point of impact, position of the vehicles, impairment, road and weather conditions and witness evidence. Every piece of information was carefully examined. Our investigators were thorough in their systematic analysis of this evidence,” Williams said.
Police say they met with the families of the victims to inform them of the charges.
The Humboldt Broncos released a statement on Friday afternoon saying …
"The Humboldt Broncos thank the RCMP and its investigators for their work. Our organization has faith in the justice system and we will be watching closely as this court process plays out. We will have no further comment on the investigation or the resulting charges until the process has concluded."
The team says it is focused on supporting those who were impacted by the tragedy.
Sidhu is scheduled to appear in court on the charges in Saskatchewan next week.
Since the collision, a GoFundMe account, in support of the team, has raised millions of dollars and is now in the process of being distributed to those impacted.