Semi driver charged with dangerous driving causing death in Humboldt Broncos bus crash

WATCH ABOVE: The first charges have been laid, three months to the day that bus full of young hockey players and their support staff were wiped off the road in Saskatchewan.

Charges have been laid exactly three months after the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash that killed 16 people and injured 13 others.

The driver of the semi, Jaskirat Sidhu, is facing 16 charges of dangerous driving of a motor vehicle causing death.

WATCH: Saskatchewan RCMP have charged the driver of a semi involved in the fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash with dangerous driving causing death. Sarah Komadina reports.

The 29-year-old Calgary man is also facing 13 counts of dangerous driving of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm.

WATCH: RCMP announce the driver of the tractor-trailer which impacted the bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team has been arrested. 


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Humboldt Broncos victims’ families happy with charges, but they won’t ‘take away our heartbreak’

Supt. Derek Williams, the officer in charge of the Saskatchewan RCMP major crime unit, said these are serious criminal charges.

”In order to lay these charges, we required evidence a motor vehicle was being operated in a manner that is dangerous to the public,” Williams said.

WATCH BELOW: RCMP outline 29 charges against driver of tractor-trailer involved in Humboldt Broncos crash

Dangerous driving causing death carries a jail term of up to 14 years. Dangerous driving causing bodily harm is upwards of 10 years in jail.

Sidhu was arrested Friday morning at his Calgary home and remains in RCMP custody.

He is scheduled to appear in Saskatchewan provincial court next week.


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As of yet, no charges have been laid against the trucking company, but the Canadian Trucking Alliance says going forward it would like to know the results of the investigation into Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd., the Calgary-based trucking company that employed Sidhu.

The group says once the details of the investigation have been released, they will work with authorities to help make the roads safer if they can.

WATCH: Significant changes to be implemented on truck drivers in Alberta 

“The alliance will examine opportunities with the provinces and the federal government to make improvements to the commercial vehicle safety compliance system,” a release from the CTA reads.

Global News reached out to Sukmander Singh, owner of Adesh Deol Trucking, but he declined to comment on the charges against Jaskirat Sidhu.

Singh said in April that the driver was going to the doctor and receiving counselling.


READ MORE:
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Singh said he basically went out of business after the crash because Alberta Transportation ordered his company to keep its only other truck off the road.

WATCH BELOW: Semi driver in Humboldt Broncos bus crash could face upwards of 14 years in prison

The Broncos were heading to Nipawin for a playoff game on April 6 when their bus and a semi collided in eastern Saskatchewan.

Williams said the families were informed of the charges on Friday.

“I can further tell you that this morning, our investigators met with the families to inform them of the outcome of this investigation,” Williams said.

“I know it’s been difficult for many to await the outcome of this police investigation, the time it took to do this work — this important work — was necessary,” added assistant commissioner Curtis Zablocki, the commanding officer of the RCMP in Saskatchewan.

WATCH: ‘Happy charges were laid’: Widow of Humboldt Broncos head coach Darcy Haugan 

A core team of 20 investigators were assigned to the case, supplemented by 100 other investigators as required.

In addition to collision re-enactment, 60 interviews and 6,000 photos were analyzed, along with the driver’s log book, Williams said.

Investigators also used 3D technology to capture evidence through unmanned aerial vehicles.

WATCH BELOW: First responders of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash were honoured during the annual Calgary Stampede Parade.

“We’ve looked at every aspect of the collision including the speed of the vehicles, point of impact, position of the vehicle, impairment, road and weather conditions and witness evidence,” Williams stated.

“Every piece of information was carefully examined.”


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RCMP preparing for Crown consultation at end of Broncos bus crash investigation

During an update last month, RCMP said they would be consulting with the Crown on possible charges once the investigation was complete.

Williams said they will continue to consult with the Crown as the investigation continues.

The Humboldt Broncos issued a statement on the charges, thanking the RCMP for their work.

“Our organization has faith in the justice system and we will be watching closely as this court process plays out.”

WATCH BELOW: RCMP say lengthy investigation necessary before laying charges in Humboldt Broncos crash

The Broncos said they will not be making any further comment on the investigation or charges until the judicial process has concluded, and their primary focus “continues to be supporting the survivors and others that were directly impacted by the tragedy.”

READ MORE: Humboldt Broncos bus crash victims may soon get interim payments

Tom Straschnitzki, whose son Ryan was paralyzed from the chest down, said he was relieved charges were laid.

“It’s finally come to charges being laid, so we are very happy about that because we don’t want that to be ignored at all,” Straschnitzki told The Canadian Press.

“It should put a little closure to the first step and the second step is … let’s see what the courts do and find out what exactly happened.

“I think that’s what people want to know. What exactly happened? How it did happen and why it happened.”

WATCH: Ryan Straschnitzki home after treatment in U.S.

Straschnitzki said he and his wife, Michelle, hadn’t thought much about charges in the three months since the crash.

“We were just too focused on Ryan and just had the faith in the RCMP that they did a lot of hard work to get it done. I guess we’ll just wait and see in the courts.”

 

— With files from James Armstrong, Rebecca Joseph, Andrew Russell and the Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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