Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the man behind the wheels of the tractor-trailer that collided with the Humboldt Broncos team bus has been arrested and charged.
Truck driver Sidhu, 29, is facing 16 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and 13 counts of dangerous operation of motor vehicle causing bodily injury.
He was arrested at his home in Calgary on Friday morning and remanded into custody.
Convictions for dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death can result in a sentence of up to 14 years in prison, while a conviction for injuring someone could land someone in prison for 10 years.
Crash survivor and former Bronco Ryan Straschnitzki said, “Whatever happened, happened for a reason.His intention wasn’t to go out and hurt us that day, but that mistake is obviously going to change his life and changed all our lives.”
The Humboldt Broncos released a statement Friday afternoon thanking the RCMP and its investigators for their work.
“Our organization has faith in the justice system and we will be watching closely as this court process plays out,” the statement read. “Our primary focus continues to be supporting the survivors, families and others that were directly impacted by the tragedy on April 6.”
Sidhu was working for the Calgary-based Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd. when the crash occurred at a rural intersection.
He was driving west on Highway 335 in a semi as a Charlie’s Charters bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos was northbound on Highway 35 to an SJHL playoff game in Nipawin, Sask.
Sidhu worked for the trucking company for a month prior to 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.
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.
Ten Broncos players died. The six other deaths included the bus driver, an athletic therapist, the head coach, assistant coach and two employees of Humboldt’s FM radio station.
The bus had the right of way. There is a flashing stop sign for drivers on Highway 335 at Highway 35 between Nipawin and Tisdale.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance said in a statement Friday that once the facts of the case are known, it will work with the provinces and the federal government to improve commercial vehicle safety.