Friday, 6 July 2018

Closer To Closure

That's still a hard image to digest. The Saskatchewan RCMP, three months to the day of the crash, announced today that they are laying charges against the truck driver involved in the accident. Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was arrested at his home in Calgary this afternoon, and he was charged with 16 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and 13 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm. Needless to say, this arrest will bring the town of Humboldt and all those affected a little closer to closure after months of beginning to find ways to reconcile and heal from this tragedy.

I'm not sure what evidence the Saskatchewan RCMP Major Crimes Unit has collected and assembled, but I would say that, based on the comments made in today's press conference, they seem to have sufficient evidence to push forward with the case. With the charges laid today and a court date set for next week in Saskatchewan, it sounds as though the RCMP want to ensure that these charges stick so that everyone who has been affected by the tragedy sees that justice has been served.

The Humboldt Broncos released a statement that thanked the RCMP for their work as well as stating, "Our organization has faith in the justice system and we will be watching closely as this court process plays out. Our primary focus continues to be supporting the survivors, families and others that were directly impacted by the tragedy on April 6."

Sidhu was driving for Calgary-based Adesh Deol Trucking Limited on the tragic evening. He was driving west on Highway 335 when he approached a flashing red light at the intersection of Highway 335 West and Highway 35 North. The bus was approaching from the south on Highway 35, and the wreckage, as seen below, ended up east of Highway 35 on the north side of Highway 335. CBC News and Canadian Press' Jonathan Hayward produced the following photo showing the recreation of the crash.
The 29 charges facing Sidhu come with heavy consequences. Dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death can result in a sentence of up to 14 years in prison per conviction while injuring someone could land someone in prison for 10 years per conviction.

"I know it has been difficult for many to await the outcome of this police investigation," Curtis Zablocki, Saskatchewan RCMP commanding officer and assistant commissioner, told those in attendance at the press conference, noting the three-month timeline. "The time it took to do this work — this important work — was necessary."

There is still a lot of healing to do around this tragedy, and I'm hoping things are getting better for those directly affected by this accident. While it's unfortunate that someone has to be blamed in something like this when everyone, including the blamed, needs to find their own way of healing, the fact that the Humboldt Broncos bus driver Glen Doerksen wasn't responsible for this should bring his family a ton of relief.

This has been a difficult three months for the community of Humboldt and everyone associated with the team, but we may finally have a bit of closure on what happened that tragic night shortly.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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