— CBC Canadian News (@CBCCanada) March 22, 2019
The truck driver at the center of the deadly, high-profile crash in 2018 involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team’s bus in Saskatchewan, Canada, was sentenced March 22 to eight years in prison.
The crash killed 16 people and injured 13 others at the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 335 in Saskatoon, Canada. Trucker Jaskirat Singh Sidhu previously pleaded guilty in January to 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
Sidhu was sentenced to eight years in prison on one count of dangerous driving causing death, as well as eight years in prison for the other 15 counts of the same charge, concurrent to the first count. He was also sentenced to five years in prison for each count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm, concurrent to the first 16 counts. He was also given a 10-year driving ban in Canada following his prison sentence.
According to Judge Inez Cardinal’s sentencing decision, Sidhu was driving between 86 and 96 kilometers per hour in a 100 kph zone and passed five signs alerting drivers to the intersection before he drove through the intersection and collided with the bus. It was determined that alcohol and drugs were not a factor in the crash, and Sidhu was not believed to have been distracted by cell phone use.
Cardinal stated in the decision that after picking up a load of peat moss on April 6, 2018, he noticed air was getting under his tarp and that he pulled over to fix it. She added that Sidhu was focusing on the tarps and trailers behind him and saw the signs alerting him of the intersection, but he was “so concerned about the tarps and trailers that the signs and signals did not register.
“This collision was avoidable,” Cardinal said in the decision. “Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was solely responsible for this collision as evidenced by the forensic accident report. He missed key indicators of an approaching intersection, and his prolonged inattention resulted in the deaths of 16 people and caused bodily harm to 13 others.”
Cardinal added that Sidhu “did not deliberately drive through the intersection in the sense that he was trying to meet a deadline or that he was running late.”
“It is baffling, and incomprehensible, that a professional driver, even one with little experience, could miss so many markers over such a long distance,” she said. “His inattention displays risky behavior given he saw the signs but they did not register because he continued to focus on the trailers behind him.”