The Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced on Friday that the driver of the tractor-trailer that collided with the Humboldt Broncos’ bus, killing 16 players and staff and injuring 13 others, has been arrested.
Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, 29, has been charged with 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 uninjured and detained after the crash before being released.
The team was on its way to a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game in Nipawin, Sask. when the April 6 crash occurred.
He was heading westbound on Highway 335 in a semi as a Charlie’s Charters bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos was travelling northbound on Highway 35 to an SJHL playoff game in Nipawin, Sask.
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 RCMP said the semi was in the intersection when the bus crashed into it.
Sidhu worked for the trucking company for one 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.
According to police, Sidhu will remain in custody before appearing in Saskatchewan provincial court sometime next week. Per the CBC, “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.”
A GoFundMe fundraising campaign started by a Humboldt resident ended in early April after raising over $15 million to help the families of victims and survivors. Donations have continued, however, and the number is now over $19 million, according to Broncos president Kevin Garinger.
In May, it was announced that the Broncos would ice a team next season in the SJHL. The first step in the rebuilding process was to hold a training camp featuring 80 invited players. Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock and Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar were on hand to assist.
As the hockey world continued to send its support, the Broncos hired Nathan Oystrick as new head coach, replacing the late Darcy Haugan, who was named winner of the inaugural Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award at last month’s NHL Awards show. Washington Capitals forward Chandler Stephenson, a Saskatoon native, said he will spend his day with the Stanley Cup in Humboldt.