As condolences, tributes, financial support and messages of love continue to pour in for victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, over 130,000 Canadians have taken to the internet to share their support for the anonymous driver of the semi-truck.
The semi-truck and bus carrying the Saskatchewan-based hockey team collided on Highway 35 Friday evening, killing 15 and injuring 14 others.
The uninjured driver was briefly detained at the scene, RCMP said Saturday. The driver’s name has not been released. RCMP declined to provide an update when asked about potential charges against the driver on Monday.
“Dear Saskatchewan truck driver,” a Sunday Reddit post by user bonneapatate reads. “As we all sit back and contemplate all that has occurred since the collision and the massive emotional impact of the death of 15 people, please know that some of us are thinking of you as well.”
The Reddit post had more than 10,000 upvotes and had hundreds of comments by Monday afternoon; the Facebook post had over 130,000 shares and more than 260 comments.
“Although the exact cause of the collision and the events prior remain unknown to us, we do know you didn’t set out to end 15 lives as you turned the ignition that fateful day.”
“You survived. You will need help to overcome this tragic incident that is also taking a significant toll on your and your family’s wellbeing.
“I sincerely hope that you will be able to heal and that other Canadians wish the same.”
WATCH: As students head back to school in Humboldt for the first time since Friday’s deadly bus crash, there are supports in place for members of the community. Quinn Ohler reports.
Ottawa student Deanna Cummings, who shared the Reddit post on her Facebook page, said despite not having any personal connections to the trucking industry, she shared the “beautiful” message because she “really wanted the trucker to be able to see it or his family.”
“It’s something that is part of the backbone of Canadians,” Cummings told Global News in a phone interview. “It shows the kind of people we want to be. It’s compassionate, so that’s why I decided to share it.”
Cummings has since updated her post saying she got a message from one Facebook user who said they’d passed the post on to the truck driver’s family.
“I’m hoping it’s reached him and he’s been able to read it.”
She said she’s received hundreds of “overwhelmingly positive” comments and instant messages from people saying they’re glad to see messages in support of the person behind the wheel of the truck that evening.
“I’ve gotten messages from hockey families across the world saying they’re holding vigils and also from other truckers who’ve shared their own experiences of loss,” she said. “[They’ve] all been really touching. It’s really brought a lot of people together.”
RCMP assistant commissioner Curtis Zabloski said on Saturday the driver was released and was “provided with some mental health and wellness assistance.”
Under the initial Reddit thread, which has been edited, hundreds of users have commented their concerns and shared their experiences.
“Former part-time truck driver here,” wrote user Thunder_bird. “I drove a truck as a second job for extra cash to help ends meet for a few years. I had to quit, too much stress.”
“Fortunately I never had an accident, but the potential for one bothered me. Transport trucks are so big, so heavy and so unforgiving in an accident.”
WATCH: Humboldt Broncos chaplain Sean Brandow said Monday that the fatal bus crash was a “horrific situation” and that the community was invested in the team through billet families and residents having even picked a player to pray for through the season.
Other posters talked about the pressures of the job of driving a transport truck on Canada’s highways, putting in long hours, covering long stretches of highway and sometimes driving at night.
“My grandfather was a truck driver for years and I remember him telling me how he and his co-workers lived in fear of getting in an accident and killing someone,” user southpaw_sam wrote. “Them not being at fault didn’t remove the pain of knowing you had ended someone’s life.
“I truly hope the driver gets support for this trauma regardless of who is at fault. This is so tragic.”
RCMP have said the investigation into cause of the crash will take a long time given its complicated nature and the amount of evidence.
WATCH: Nipawin Fire Chief Brian Starkell explained the scene of the Humboldt Broncos fatal bus crash when his crew arrived on Friday evening, saying they were focusing on doing their jobs.
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