Indian-Origin Truck Driver Arrested Over Crash That Killed 16 in Canada
Jaskirat Singh Sidhu faces 16 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and 13 counts of dangerous operation of motor vehicle causing bodily injury, the Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.
An Indian-origin truck driver has been arrested and charged over a vehicle crash that killed 16 people in April this year, the Canadian police announced on July 6. Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, 29, was arrested at his home in Calgary and remanded into custody.
He faces 16 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and 13 counts of dangerous operation of motor vehicle causing bodily injury, the Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement. Dangerous driving causing death carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail, while dangerous driving causing bodily harm carries a sentence of up to 10-year imprisonment.
Sidhu was driving a semi truck loaded with peat moss that crashed into a bus carrying 29 people, mostly members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team, on April 6. Sixteen persons, including 10 players, were killed and 13 were injured. Sidhu, who was uninjured, was detained briefly after the accident and then released.
“I know it has been difficult for many to await the outcome of this police investigation,” Curtis Zablocki, Saskatchewan RCMP commanding officer and assistant commissioner, said about the three months that the police took to make the arrest. “The time it took to do this work — this important work — was necessary,” Zablocki added, according to CBC News.
The Humboldt Broncos released a statement after Sidhu’s arrest, expressing the organization’s faith in the justice system, Huffpost reported.
“Our primary focus continues to be supporting the survivors, families and others that were directly impacted by the tragedy on April 6th,” the team said. “We will have no further comment on the investigation or the resulting charges until the process has concluded.”
The police formed a core team of 20 investigators who were assisted with over 100 investigators to analyze and collect evidence regarding the incident, the police said in the statement. In addition to the collision re-enactment done by the police in April, they conducted more than 60 interviews, took over 6,000 photos, and analyzed all the documentation available as part of the investigation process. The investigators also used 3D technology and unmanned aerial vehicles to gather additional evidence.
The probe included analysis of various aspects of the collision, including the speed of the vehicles, point of impact, position of the vehicles, impairment, road and weather conditions and witness evidence.
The police have not revealed how the crash happened.
Sidhu, who was working for the Calgary-based Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd, was driving west on Highway 335 while the Charlie’s Charters bus carrying the hockey team was going north on Highway 35 to an SJHL playoff game in Nipawin, Sask. The bus had the right of way, and the truck was at the intersection when the vehicles collided, CBC News reported.
Sidhu graduated in commerce from the Panjab University in Chandigarh, India, from 2008 until 2012, the publication reported, citing his LinkedIn profile. He reached Calgary on a student visa in 2013 to earn a diploma in business administration at Bow Valley College from 2014 until 2015. He had been employed with the trucking company for a month before the fatal crash happened.