Sentence Is Handed Down To Truck Driver In Crash That Killed 16, Injured 13 More
Melfort, Saskatchewan – Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the truck driver who plead guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving in connection to the April 2018 accident which claimed the lives of 16 junior hockey team members and injured 13 others, has been sentenced to 8 years in prison.
Judge Inez Cardinal handed down the sentence on Friday in a court hearing. “Nothing can turn back the clock. The collision was avoidable,” Judge Cardinal said.
Sidhu received an 8-year sentence for each of the 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and a 5-year sentence for each of the 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. However, Judge Cardinal allowed the sentences to be served concurrently (at the same time).
Judge Cardinal noted Sidhu had “ample time to react as he approached the intersection” if he had been paying attention in the moments leading up to the deadly crash with the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus.
Their team bus was struck by Sidhu’s semi in rural Saskatchewan. After a lengthy investigation of the crash scene, Sidhu was charged and arrested in July 2018.
Sidhu, 30, was born in India and moved to Canada in 2013. He faced a maximum sentence of 14 years for dangerous driving causing death and 10 years for dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
Prosecutors were seeking a 10-year sentence followed by a 10-year driving prohibition. However, today’s sentence marks the longest dangerous driving sentence ever in Canada for a case that didn’t involve alcohol.
Previously, the longest dangerous driving sentence in Canada for a case that didn’t involve alcohol was handed down to 76-year-old Mohinder Singh Saini, a Quebec truck driver who failed to slow down as he entered a construction zone in Ontario in 2015. Saini caused a crash that killed four people and injured 11. He received a six-year sentence.
Humboldt Broncos president Jamie Brockton, in a statement, said the past year has been extremely difficult, but is glad to have this matter settled. “Having this legal matter settled and the sentencing complete is a big step in the healing process for the survivors, grieving families, our organization and the community of Humboldt and surrounding area. The sentence is subject to varying opinions but what is important is that Mr. Sidhu plead guilty, has shown remorse and has remained accountable for his careless actions.”
Sidhu entered his guilty plea in January. At the time, Sidhu’s lawyer, Mark Brayford, told reporters, “Mr. Sidhu advised me: ‘I don’t want to make things any worse. I can’t make things any better, but I certainly don’t want to make them worse by having a trial.’”
Judge Cardinal indicated Sidhu’s willingness to spare the families of the deceased a painful trial was a factor in the less than expected sentence. Additionally, the judge pointed to other contributing factors such as Sidhu had no criminal record and wasn’t using drugs, alcohol or a cell phone at the time of the crash.