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Humboldt bus crash prompts calls for highway safety: ‘I can’t believe it happened again’

WATCH: Art Lalonde, the Rural Muncipalities Reeve for Connaught, Saskatchewan, remembered a crash that killed an Alberta family about two decades ago at the same intersection where the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash occurred on Friday.

Councillors in rural Saskatchewan are calling on the province to make changes to a deadly intersection after a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team crashed into a semi-truck and killed 15 people.

READ MORE: Humboldt Broncos crash not the first deadly collision at Highway 35 and Highway 335

Around 20 years ago, six members of a family were also killed at the remote intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 335.

Stop signs with flashing lights were then installed as a safety precaution. But now councillors from the Rural Municipality of Connaught, where the accident took place, say more needs to be done.

WATCH: Humboldt Broncos fatal bus crash prompts calls for better highway safety

Humboldt Broncos fatal bus crash prompts calls for better highway safety
Humboldt Broncos fatal bus crash prompts calls for better highway safety

“It’s a dangerous corner right there. It’s a major intersection, there’s no doubt. … There are two highways that connect there,” said rural municipal councillor Dale Poggemiller.

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“There is a farmyard on the one corner there and it blocks the view. You can’t see to the left,”  he added.

On Friday evening, the bus carrying 29 people from the Broncos team was heading north on Highway 35 to Nipawin, Sask., for a semifinal game. A semi-truck was traveling west on Highway 335 when the two vehicles collided around 5 p.m. local time.

Location of Humboldt bus crash.
Location of Humboldt bus crash.
RCMP are still investigating the cause of the wreckage.
RCMP are still investigating the cause of the wreckage. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
The bus and semi flipped over after the crash.
The bus and semi flipped over after the crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
The wreckage of a fatal crash outside of Tisdale, Sask., is seen Saturday, April, 7, 2018.
The wreckage of a fatal crash outside of Tisdale, Sask., is seen Saturday, April, 7, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Crosses for accident victims from a previous accident are seen at the intersection of a crash site near Tisdale, Sask.
Crosses for accident victims from a previous accident are seen at the intersection of a crash site near Tisdale, Sask. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The force of the crash sent both vehicles into the northwest ditch of the intersection. Aeriel footage from the scene shows the bus on its side with the roof peeled and the front end ripped off.

WATCH: Aerial video shows destruction at scene of Humboldt Broncos bus crash

Aerial video shows destruction at scene of Humboldt Broncos bus crash
Aerial video shows destruction at scene of Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The trailer of the truck was also on its side, with bags of peat moss cargo scattered everywhere. The tractor part of the truck was intact, lying on its passenger side.

READ MORE: Here are the victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The victims include Broncos captain Logan Schatz along with nine other players, coaches Darcy Haugun and Mark Cross, the team’s statistician, a radio play-by-play announcer and the driver of the bus.

The driver of the semi-truck was not hurt.

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WATCH: Councillor calls for rumble strips at intersection of Humboldt crash

Councillor calls for rumble strips at intersection of Humboldt crash
Councillor calls for rumble strips at intersection of Humboldt crash

RCMP have released few details about the crash, saying traffic analysts are continuing to investigate the cause of the wreckage.

Changes to the intersection

The intersection between highways 335 and 35 has stop signs with flashing warning lights, meaning the semi-trailer would have had to yield to a stop sign before crossing the highway. But there is a stand of trees on the southeast corner of the intersection, limiting visibility of the approach on both roads.

Both roads are two-lane highways with posted speed limits of 100 km per hour.

Poggemiller said the intersection does not have rumble strips, which are located at other major highway junctions in Saskatchewan. Rumble strips are shallow grooves in the shoulder of the highway, which alert distracted or drowsy drivers that the edge of the paved roadway surface is near.

“Rumble strips would definitely help,” Poggemiller said, who is meeting with other local officials Monday to discuss the changes.

Councillors from the Rural Municipality of Connaught meet on Monday to discuss safety changes to the deadly interction.
Councillors from the Rural Municipality of Connaught meet on Monday to discuss safety changes to the deadly interction.

Ian Boxall, another councillor with the rural municipality, took to Twitter to say better signage and lighting is also needed at the intersection.

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WATCH: Humboldt Broncos honoured with hockey stick tribute

#PutYourStickOut: Humboldt Broncos honoured with hockey stick tribute
#PutYourStickOut: Humboldt Broncos honoured with hockey stick tribute

Art Lalonde, the reeve for the Rural Municipality of Connaught, agreed.

“I can’t believe it happened it again,” Lalonde said. “I wouldn’t call it a trouble spot, but we have had two horrific crashes here. I don’t know what happened.”

READ MORE: All GoFundMe donations to go directly to affected players, families of Humboldt crash

He said it’s ultimately up to the province to make changes to the highway. But leaders in the municipality will make suggestions, such as lowering the speed limit, in order to prevent tragedies like this in the future.

 

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