HUMBOLDT, Saskatchewan (Heartland Newsfeed) — Monday marks a somber and tragic event in sports history. Two years ago, a local hockey team — the Humboldt Broncos — perished as a result of a bus crash. It is a moment no parent or no sports fan wishes to relive, but sadly, tragedy is an unfortunate part of life.
The following came from a Royal Canadian Mounted Police collision report:
- The coach bus carrying 29 members of the Humboldt Broncos and a semi-trailer truck collided at around 4:50 p.m. CDT.
- The truck driver, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, was driving westbound on Highway 335 carrying two trailer loads of peat moss.
- The coach bus was heading northbound on Highway 35.
- The average speeds of Sidhu’s truck was 86-96 KPH, or 53-60 MPH.
- The average speeds of the coach bus was 96-107 KPH, or 60-66 MPH.
- Highway 335 traffic has to yield to Highway 35 traffic, as there are two oversized stop signs on both ends of Highway 335 at the intersection. Additionally, there is a flashing red light above it.
- Sidhu failed to yield to the stop sign, as the Broncos’ bus had the right-of-way.
- Sidhu’s truck was blocking the intersection when the bus slammed into the lead trailer.
The report reveals there was nothing obscuring Sidhu’s view of the stop sign. Additionally, he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The bus driver and 13 passengers on the bus died on impact. Additionally, 15 experienced injuries with three of them amassing critical injuries. Two of the critically injured would later die in the hospital because the injuries were so severe.
The aftermath: criminal proceedings
Criminal proceedings would take place three months later. Sidhu faces 16 counts of dangerous driving resulting in death. Additionally, he faces 13 counts of dangerous driving resulting in bodily harm.
He would be released on a $1,000 under specific conditions: that he must stay in his home in Calgary and abide by a curfew. Additionally, he cannot drive and was ordered to forfeit his passport as a result.
On January 8, 2019, Sidhu pleads guilty on all counts. Sidhu is serving eight years, all sentences concurrent. Sidhu will be pending release from prison in 2027. A 10-year driving ban will go into effect.
Sukhmander Singh, the owner of the trucking company, received citations for violation of Federal and provincial safety regulations in October 2018.
The aftermath: Civil proceedings
A lawsuit was filed by Russell and Raelene Herold, parents of one of the players who perished, Adam Herold. It listed the driver, the trucking company and the bus manufacturer as co-defendants. Additionally, unspecified damages and court orders were requested, including a provision that all buses have seat belts and other safety devices.
Currently, there are no updates relating to that suit.
A $13.5 million lawsuit was filed by crash survivor Ryan Straschnitzki against the families of the truck and bus drivers, the trucking company, the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan or other parties.
As of this publication, additional lawsuits have been filed or are pending.
Officials from the Humboldt Broncos organization published a post on Monday on social media memorializing the 2017-18 team:
“Provincial Orders set forth due to the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented us with proceeding with the original plan,” the release states.
The City of Humboldt was planning for a special exhibit
The release states that the City of Humboldt was planning for a temporary special exhibit comprising of many memorabilia items surrounding the team.
“In the midst of all the turmoil in the present world we want to make sure the lives lost and those that were changed forever two years ago are not forgotten,” states Humboldt mayor Rob Muench.
“During this time of self-isolating and practicing physical distancing, it’s important to us that people still have a place to go to reflect and remember the tragedy and the outpouring of support that our community received on a global scale,” adds Muench.
The St. Augustine Catholic Church will toll their bells at 4:50 p.m. CDT to recognize the date and time the tragedy occurred. Additionally, the event will be live on the City of Humboldt’s Facebook page.
Muench also declared April 6 as “Humboldt Broncos Day” to memorialize the 2017-18 team as a result.
Gabriel Schray and Ben “Moose” Gibson contributed to this report.
For more sports, news, and entertainment, follow Gabriel and Midwest Sports Network on Twitter @MWSNsports. Additionally, you can like the MWSN page on Facebook. You can also find Schray on Twitter @SchrayGuy.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.