A 40-year-old Edmonton man has been charged in connection with a crash involving a school bus that left a 15-year-old girl dead earlier this year.
RCMP said Monday that Sukhdeep Deol has been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and criminal negligence causing death in relation to the March 2018 crash.
The crash between a semi-truck and school bus happened on March 7, on Opal Road at Township Road 594, north of Redwater. Fog was reported in the area at the time of the crash, RCMP Cpl. Ronald Bumbry said in March.
The bus was taking students to Thorhild Central School, a Kindergarten to Grade 12 school located in Thorhild, Alta. when the crash happened. There were 14 students and one driver on the bus at the time.
Maisie Watkinson – who family and friends described as a very energetic, positive girl – was pronounced dead at the scene.
Watkinson’s sister said word of the charges brings her family a bit of relief and closure, but it will never change what happened last March.
“It’s my family and I that get to live with the life sentence,” Andrea Darby said.
“All we ever wanted from the get-go was justice for Maisie and justice for my brothers and all the other kids on the school bus,” she continued. “I just hope that this brings closure to Maisie’s friends and to other people that were affected by this because we know how hard it is and I know that my family and I were not the only ones suffering through this.”
Darby said the wounds are still fresh, and it feels as though the crash was only just yesterday.
“I would not wish that upon my worst enemy. It was honestly the hardest thing my family and I have ever had to go through in our life and no one should have to go through a pain like that.”
Darby said she and her sister were best friends, and that Watkinson was one of the smartest kids she knew.
“She was bright. She was really funny. And she could light up the darkest parts of anyone who crossed her path,” she said. “In one person, she had it all and I was very lucky to call her my sister.”
The driver of the semi was not injured, RCMP said at the time.
Deol was released from custody on Sunday. He is scheduled to appear in court in Fort Saskatchewan on Aug. 2.
Watch below: A teenage girl is dead after a crash between a school bus and gravel truck on a rural road north of Redwater Wednesday morning. Quinn Ohler reports. (Filed March 7, 2018).