RCMP report details events leading up to fatal Broncos crash

By Charlene Tebbutt
January 29, 2019 - 5:00pm

While families, friends and loved ones of those involved in the fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash continue to speak at the sentencing hearing for the semi driver who caused the collision, the public is also learning more about some of the other elements in the fatal incident that changed so many lives over nine months ago.

Many of those who knew and loved the 29 people who were hurt or killed in the crash are in Melfort this week for the sentencing hearing of Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the man who was driving the super-B semi truck that collided with the Humboldt Broncos bus last spring. While victim impact statements dominated much of the day’s proceedings Monday, the public also got a first look at an RCMP report on the incident that lays out details of what happened leading up to the fatal crash.  

A lengthy report from RCMP reconstructing the crash was made public Monday. Among the details included in the report was that Sidhu, 30, had 70 federal and provincial driving violations between March 26 and April 6, 2018. The violations included not keeping proper log books and missing logs.

“If Jaskirat Sidhu had been stopped and inspected on April 6 , 2018, prior to the incident, he would have been placed under a 72 hour out of service declaration … preventing him from operating a commercial vehicle,” the report reads. “We have strong concerns regarding the timeline of Jaskirat Singh Sidhu’s day on April 6, 2018 as there are unanswered questions as a result of the incomplete log on that day.”

Sidhu pleaded guilty earlier this month to all 29 charges against him in relation to the crash. Evidence presented at the sentencing hearing Monday said road and weather conditions were good at the time of the crash, and alcohol and drugs were not factors. The report says the speed at which the bus was travelling was not a factor in the crash, although it was in relation to the semi.

According to the RCMP reconstructionist report, Sidhu was driving a semi loaded with 900 bales of peat moss when he approached the intersection of Highways 35 and 335. At the time of the collision, Sidhu was travelling between 86 kilometres per hour and 96 kilometres per hour. The bus was travelling between 96 and 107 kilometres per hour, and tried to stop about 24 metres before the point of impact.

Court heard Sidhu did not stop at the marked stopped sign before driving into the intersection.

"There was no way the driver of the bus, Glen Doerksen, could have avoided the collision,” Crown Prosecutor Thomas Healey said at the start of the sentencing hearing Monday. “The actions of Mr. Sidhu while driving the semi unit caused this collision.”

As he approached the intersection of Highways 35 and 335, Sidhu would have pass several road signs, according to the agreed facts. The first sign would have been a “Junction Highway 35” sign about 406 metres before the stop sign, a “stop sign ahead” sign about 300 metres ahead of the intersection, and a highway junction sign about 104 metres ahead of the intersection.

“It is noteworthy that at the time of the collision, the relevant stop sign was an “oversized” stop sign,” the report adds. “It was 4 feet in diameter … there was also a functional red “traffic” light attached to the light standard, a short distance above the stop sign.”

Fourteen people died at the scene of the crash last April, with two later succumbing to their injuries in hospital. The RCMP report describes the initial scene following the crash, including “tire marks, fluid and broken glass on the road … two vehicles, a huge scattering of cargo, and 14 bodies, all in the northwest quadrant of the intersection.”

“The bus was in three pieces,” the report said.

RCMP investigators worked with officials from Transport Canada, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and safety officers from SGI following the crash. The 2018 Lode King semi unit did not have an event data recorder, meaning police could not use it to glean information during the investigation.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled to run until Friday in Melfort.

 

Charlene.tebbutt@jpbg.ca

On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt

UPDATE: "You don't deserve my forgiveness," mother tells Sidhu

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