Jaskirat Sidhu, who is facing a total of 29 charges in connection with the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash that killed 16 people and injured 13 others, has been released on bail. The family of one of the victims has also filed a lawsuit against Sidhu and the trucking company he worked for.
CALGARY –The Indo-Canadian trucker involved in the crash that killed many members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team was charged with dangerous driving causing death last week but he was given bail on Tuesday.
Jaskirat Sidhu is facing a total of 29 charges including dangerous driving of a motor vehicle causing death in connection with the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash that killed 16 people and injured 13 others.
Sidhu posted the $1000 bail but will not be able to operate a motor vehicle. He will also have to stay in communication with RCMP and will have to give up his passport.
Crown and defence worked out the agreement to release before appearing in provincial court before Judge Inez Cardinal, who accepted it.
Sidhu was charged after the collision in April. The bus, carrying players, the coach and other personnel, had been heading to a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask.
Outside court, the father of Evan Thomas, one of the players who died, said it was important to be in the courtroom, reported Canadian Press.
"I think I caught his eye once," said Scott Thomas. "In case this goes to a plea bargain, at least he can put my face to it."
He said he wanted to represent the families who couldn't attend the hearing so they'd "at least have a presence in the building."
Ultimately, he wasn't surprised Sidhu was released on bail.
"It was what we expected," said Thomas. "The process is what it is."
A criminal defence lawyer said he's not surprised that Sidhu was granted bail.
In most cases, it's up to prosecutors to prove whether the defendant should remain in custody. That means the accused is usually released by the Crown.
"This prevents unnecessary delays in court proceedings," said defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle.
It's also usual for Crown and defence lawyers to meet before court to avoid a bail hearing and come to an agreement.
A judge can deny bail if he or she believes the accused won't attend court, if public safety is at risk or if other the circumstances of the case warrant denying bail.
RCMP said Sidhu was arrested last Friday morning from his Calgary home without incident.
The Humboldt Broncos team bus collided with a transport truck on April 6 while on its way to a game in Nipawin, Sask. The collision killed 16 people on the bus and injured 13 others. The truck driver survived.
Immediately following the collision, officers took the truck driver into custody, but he was later released. On June 12, the RCMP said it was talking with Crown prosecutors about potential charges.
The charges were laid after an exhaustive three-month investigation that involved more than 100 investigators, 3-D technology and forensic recreation of the crash site, RCMP Superintendent Derek Williams told a press conference on Friday, reported CTV News.
“We have looked at every aspect of the collision including the speed of the vehicles, point of impact, position of the vehicles, impairment, road and weather conditions and witness evidence,” said Williams, who oversaw the investigation.
Police offered few details of what led them to lay the charges. Williams would not say what alleged behavior investigators believe was involved, but he noted that impaired driving is not among the charges.
Among the evidence scrutinized in the investigation was a log book kept by the driver. Police would not clarify what was detailed in the book, but Williams said investigators “look at all the documentation to see what is recorded and what is not recorded.”
Families of the victims gathered in Saskatoon and Edmonton Friday morning to be briefed of the charges before they were made public.
The Calgary-based company that owned the truck, Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd., began operation in the fall of 2017 and had two trucks on the road at the time of the collision. The other truck was temporarily taken out of service while Alberta Transportation investigated the incident.
The company’s owner, Sukhmander Singh, previously told The Canadian Press that the driver had been working for him for about a month and had the proper driving credentials.
Since the collision, a GoFundMe in support of the team has raised millions of dollars and is now in the process of being distributed to those impacted.
The team was heading to Nipawin for a playoff game on April 6 when their bus and a semi collided in eastern Saskatchewan.