January 31, 2019 12:04 pm
Updated: January 31, 2019 3:27 pm

Father of Humboldt Broncos crash victim says meeting with semi driver ‘intensely emotional’

WATCH: Thomas family reflects on guilty plea in Humboldt Broncos crash (Jan. 8)

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The semi-truck driver involved in the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash has met with one of the parents of the victims.

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu pleaded guilty earlier this month to 29 counts of dangerous driving in connection with the Humboldt Broncos bus crash that killed 16 people last April. Parents and family members of those killed have been delivering emotional victim impact statements at his sentencing hearing all week.

READ MORE: Legal experts say judges cannot be overly swayed by victim impact statements

Scott Thomas, the father of hockey player Evan Thomas, told Global National’s Heather Yourex-West that Sidhu’s brother approached him to meet during the hearing on Wednesday.

Humboldt Broncos right winger Evan Thomas is shown in this undated team photo.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

After court proceedings finished for the day, Thomas met and talked with Sidhu for 15 minutes. Sidhu’s brother and uncle were present during the meeting.

“It was intensely emotional,” Thomas said. “It’s probably the most emotional experience I’ve had in my life time.”

“It was exactly the opportunity I asked for and in the end, I’m very thankful and the opportunity and the meeting that we had.”

WATCH: Humboldt Broncos bus crash continues to weigh on families


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He declined to talk about the details of what was discussed, as the hearing was ongoing, and out of respect for the other families of victims.

Earlier in the week, Thomas had told media he wanted to know why Sidhu disregarded a stop sign, which led to the crash that killed his son.

“I want to know why. That would be a huge part in me finding forgiveness to understand why,” Thomas told reporters Wednesday.

READ MORE: Families of Humboldt victims want to hear from truck driver himself: ‘I want to know why’

An agreed statement of facts presented in court says there was nothing to obscure Sidhu’s view, and the weather was clear.

In court, Sidhu’s lawyer Mark Brayford argued he was a new driver and that an unsecured tarp on the truck was distracting him, though Brayford said Sidhu recognizes the crash was 100 per cent his fault.

“I suggest a classic case of his inexperience working against him,” Brayford said. “That’s his responsibility and he recognizes it.”

The Crown has asked for Sidhu to face a 10-year prison sentence.

Other family members have expressed a range of emotions towards Sidhu.

Christina Haugan, the widow of Bronco’s coach Darcy Haugan, told Global News she and her family needed to forgive Sidhu to be able to move forward.

READ MORE: Widow of Humboldt Broncos coach offers semi driver forgiveness — ‘We’ve all made mistakes’

Others feel the opposite.

Andrea Joseph of St. Albert, Alta., whose son Jaxon died in the crash, says Sidhu broke the law and deserves a lengthy prison sentence, calling him a monster.

The sentencing hearing continues until Friday. Lawyers are expected to submit closing arguments Thursday.

— with files from Heather Yourex-West

 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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