The trucking company that contracted the semi-truck involved in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash that killed 15 people and injured 14 others has been suspended pending an investigation.
Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd. was suspended indefinitely by the Alberta Transportation ministry pending an investigation, provincial Transport Minister Brian Mason confirmed to Global News.
WATCH: Transport Minister Brian Mason confirms suspension of Calgary company in relation to Humboldt Broncos bus crash
Officials say this is standard procedure any time a commercial carrier is involved in a significant or high-profile incident that poses a high risk to the public.
It is still too early to speculate on the cause of the collision, a government source said. RCMP officials wouldn’t comment on the investigation as it was still underway.
The Alberta Transportation ministry will assist the Government of Saskatchewan in the investigation into the crash and will conduct its own investigation into the company, Alberta Ministry of Transport press secretary John Archer explained.
Archer initially said the company had been inspected as recently as February, when it passed inspection in the Northwest Territories. An Alberta government spokesperson later corrected the number of inspections undergone by Adesh Deol Trucking to say it had only one in the Northwest Territories in February. Alberta Transportation communications director Graeme McElheran said Thursday that inspection resulted in an hours-of-service infraction.
A suspension for the company means the company’s entire fleet is grounded, regardless of where the trucks are. Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd. had two trucks in operation before the crash.
“The suspension is a direct result of the collision and the fact the company still has another vehicle in operation,” a government source told Global News.
Doug Wakabayashi, spokesperson for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, said he’s not aware of a suspension involving Charlie’s Charters, the company that owned the hockey team’s bus.
He said the RCMP will be leading the investigation and the ministry’s commercial vehicle enforcement branch will be providing technical assistance.
Mason explained the Alberta government investigation will include looking at the company records and logs.
“We’ll look at drivers logs, we’ll look at the record of the vehicle and that sort of thing, and see if we can determine whether or not they’ve been compliant,” he told Global News.
“We’ve looked at their record, it looks like they’ve been a compliant company up until this point, but we don’t want to pre-judge any investigation by the RCMP or by ourselves.”
FULL COVERAGE: Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy
Sukhmander Singh is the sole owner of trucking company, according to Alberta government corporate records.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was unhurt and was given mental-health assistance after the collision.
He was briefly detained and questioned by RCMP but released shortly thereafter.
Global News spoke with a man who identified himself as a relative of the truck company owner at the trucking company’s address Tuesday afternoon.
“He’s very emotional,” Jeet Singh said. “He’s not sure what happened, right, because it’s a big accident.”
Singh said he’s at home with his family now.
Premier Tech, a horticulture and agriculture company based in Quebec, confirmed to Global News that the truck involved in the crash had been hired to haul peat moss from the company’s facilities in Saskatchewan and Alberta, according to spokesman Marc Beland.
Beland said Premier Tech relies on contracting out its trucking but declined to identify company or driver involved.
Support for truck driver
The identity of the driver of the semi-truck has not been released, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of Canadians from sharing a letter of support for him.
“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,” a Reddit post by user bonneapatate reads. “We do know you didn’t set out to end 15 lives as you turned the ignition that fateful day.”
The post has more than 10,000 upvotes and a Facebook post had over 130,000 shares as of Tuesday morning.
*with files from Andrew Russell and Heide Pearson