Truck driver from Humboldt crash arrested, faces multiple charges
Hockey sticks, messages and other items form a memorial to the 16 killed on the Humboldt Broncos bus at this rural intersection in Saskatchewan.
The driver of the semi-truck that crashed into the Humboldt Broncos team bus on April 6, killing 16 and injuring 13, was arrested on Friday by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Calgary, Alberta.
Jaskirat Sidhu faces 16 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and 13 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm. His first court appearance in Saskatchewan Provincial Court is next week. Sidhu, 29, is from Calgary.
The accident took place on a rural intersection in the Broncos’ home province of Saskatchewan.
The team released a statement Friday, thanking the RCMP: “The 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.
“Our primary focus continues to be supporting the survivors, families and others that were directly impacted by the tragedy on April 6th. We ask that media maintain and respect their privacy as this matter proceeds through the courts.”
Sidhu worked for the trucking company for a month before the fatal collision, according to owner Sukhmander Singh. Singh said Sidhu trained with him for two weeks and was driving on his own for two more weeks before the crash.
Although Sidhu was not injured in the crash, he did receive trauma counseling in the aftermath.
Sidhu was a bachelor of commerce student at Panjab University in Chandigarh, India, from 2008 until 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile. He made his way to Calgary on a student visa in 2013 to study for a diploma in business administration at Bow Valley College from 2014 until 2015.
The RCMP said it conducted 60 interviews and took thousands of photos in evidence collection throughout the investigation. They also reconstructed the crash with replica vehicles, examining speed and position of vehicles.
“What we can say about the evidence is limited, as the matter is before the courts,” RCMP Superintendent Derek Williams said at a news conference.
Dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death has a maximum prison term of 14 years, while dangerous operation causing bodily harm has a maximum prison term of 10 years.
The RCMP did not mention a toxicology report and met with families on Friday morning to inform them about the charges before they were announced publicly.
Earlier in the week, Humboldt hired former Northern Michigan and NHL defenseman Nathan Oystrick as its new coach. Darcy Haugan, who had been the Broncos’ coach and GM, was among those killed.
Haugan, posthumously, was the first recipient of the NHL’s Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award. Haugan’s widow, Christina, accepted the award from O’Ree at the NHL Awards Ceremony last month in Las Vegas.