By: Luke Jones, Published on July 7, 2018 08:20 PM, Last Update on July 31, 2018 05:21 PM
The driver of a transport truck that crashed into a bus carrying the Humbolt Broncos junior hockey team faces 29 criminal charges. 16 people died in the collision in April, while a further 13 were injured in the tragedy.
According to an announcement from the RCMP, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, 29, faces charges of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Nearly three months on from the crash, Sidhu was arrested this week. RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki says “Mr. Sidhu was arrested without incident at his Calgary residence.”
On the night, the Broncos team was heading to a playoff game in Nipawin Sask., when the semi-truck carrying peat moss operated by Sidhu collided with the bus. Mr. Sidhu was not hurt in the collision and was released from police custody the same night.
No details of the investigation will be released and the RCMP is not stating what they believe happened or caused the collision. Supt. Derek Williams says the investigation to this point has been extensive, including 60 main investigators covering interviews with five dozen witnesses.
“In order to lay these charges, we require evidence the motor vehicle was being operated in a manner that is dangerous to the public,” said Williams.
“We’ve looked at every aspect of the collision, including 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.”
Under current laws, a single count of dangerous driving causing death carries a maximum penalty of 14 years, Sidhu faces 16 counts. Each count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, Sidhu faces 13 counts.
Tom Straschnitzki, whose son Ryan was paralyzed from the chest down, welcomed the charges:
“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.”